Chinese Animal Death Camps


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It may be just a bit difficult to picture what it really looks like inside the Beijing Olympics death camp for cats and dogs. Nobody likes to read about bad things in detail but I hope you will stay with me and read this post through. Because sometimes we shouldn’t try so hard to not know: ignorance breeds naivete, and naivete impedes positive action, and positive action is the only way such horror has any hope of ending.

For the longest time, I had problems understanding the concept of animal death camps too. However, the reality has been brought home since we got to know about the work AnimalsAsia.org does. Founder Jill Robinson started a blog, and has been chronicling the work she and the team does.

On 4 February 2008, a day after the annual “China Companion Animal Symposium” in Guangzhou, Jill and 2 team members visited the Maoshan Live Animal Market. I have no words to express my feelings for the scenes Jill described:

… even as the taxi pulls up outside the open courtyard the screams of terrified animals makes us wince. These cries echo around each avenue of the market until we finally meet the eyes of petrified dogs and cats that are minutes or hours from death. Panting from thirst and dehydration, crying with terror, confusion and pain, their suffering is profound. Sometimes their tails wag in hopeful anticipation that the soft apologies of people recording their pain will lead to release – until their eyes fade once again into hopeless reality and they turn away.

One cage suddenly breaks open as it crashes from the truck to the concrete floor below and all hell breaks loose as three cats find the opening and dash out into the lane, desperately trying to flee. The traders don’t miss a thing and surround the terrified cats, herding them into a corner, before grasping them around the necks with wire tongs and smashing them onto the ground until their bodies go limp. A young ginger male twitches for a few seconds and becomes still. A black-and-white cat convulses wildly in a semi-conscious state, blood pouring from her mouth, nose and broken legs before waking more fully and trying to scramble under a truck. Her adrenalin allows her one last chance of escape. The traders let her go, anticipating perhaps that she will soon die of shock and pain and isn’t worth chasing. We try to find her, but it’s an impossible task in the maze of animals and people and we pray that her agony will end soon.

As we continue taking pictures we hear a weak and plaintive mewing, and walk over to what we think will be a cage of mother and kittens. Instead, we nearly tread on a tiny newborn puppy, recently born of a sick or petrified mother and simply tossed away on the floor by the men.

Frightened and exhausted, several have no strength to rise to their feet and the traders kick them in the stomachs and beat their backs with metal poles until they can stand the agony no more and rise on shaking legs. Even then, the abuse continues and the traders continue beating them and grabbing their tails, painfully twisting them into knots, and forcing the donkeys to climb up the metal ramps into the cages.

What follows is the full two-part account (I am posting here since there no direct way of getting the individual blogpost link). Please do try to read it in full, because with understanding comes awareness, and when there is awareness then there is real hope that this can end.

The horrors of Maoshan – Part 1

Recently, I visited Maoshan Live Animal Market in Guangzhou with two of our China team, Christie and Rainbow. Such visits are probably the hardest part of our work at Animals Asia, but they’re also among the most important. We must keep monitoring this situation and exposing the truth about these hell-holes. These are my notes from the visit:

It’s 8am and I just don’t know how Christie and Rainbow can cope with the pain. You feel it in every fibre of your body, as you breathe the rancid, acrid smell of disease and taste the dust of death and decay. It lingers for hours after you’ve left one of these obscene live animal markets in China.

The place is Maoshan Market in the southern province of Guangdong and even as the taxi pulls up outside the open courtyard the screams of terrified animals makes us wince. These cries echo around each avenue of the market until we finally meet the eyes of petrified dogs and cats that are minutes or hours from death. Panting from thirst and dehydration, crying with terror, confusion and pain, their suffering is profound. Sometimes their tails wag in hopeful anticipation that the soft apologies of people recording their pain will lead to release – until their eyes fade once again into hopeless reality and they turn away.

We promise they will never die in vain. Rainbow is saying “please look at the camera; let me turn your agony into change for the animals of the future”. I can only say sorry to the eyes that turn my way – and I do out loud – and try to reassure them that their next life will be better.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of dogs are piled into tiny wire mesh cages in pyramids teetering high into the air on the backs of the trucks. Cats are stacked in cages that wobble precariously on industrial weigh-scales as their mass of body weight is calculated for the local restaurants.

One cage suddenly breaks open as it crashes from the truck to the concrete floor below and all hell breaks loose as three cats find the opening and dash out into the lane, desperately trying to flee. The traders don’t miss a thing and surround the terrified cats, herding them into a corner, before grasping them around the necks with wire tongs and smashing them onto the ground until their bodies go limp. A young ginger male twitches for a few seconds and becomes still. A black-and-white cat convulses wildly in a semi-conscious state, blood pouring from her mouth, nose and broken legs before waking more fully and trying to scramble under a truck. Her adrenalin allows her one last chance of escape. The traders let her go, anticipating perhaps that she will soon die of shock and pain and isn’t worth chasing. We try to find her, but it’s an impossible task in the maze of animals and people and we pray that her agony will end soon.

Animals, both dead and alive, are squashed together, suffocating in cages the size of small suitcases – each movement of one causing others to scream in pain as broken and wounded limbs are nudged or sat upon. So many dogs are sick and suffering from the ravages of parvovirus or distemper; several wheezing last breaths, while others are now lifeless in their cages. As we continue taking pictures we hear a weak and plaintive mewing, and walk over to what we think will be a cage of mother and kittens. Instead, we nearly tread on a tiny newborn puppy, recently born of a sick or petrified mother and simply tossed away on the floor by the men.

His body is cold, but he’s breathing and, wrapping him in the fabric of an old umbrella we find on the floor, I hold him close to my body, trying to raise his temperature. Less than 30 minutes later, Rainbow finds another – a tiny newborn black-and-white female, again with umbilical cord attached, and a body temperature even lower than the first. Two tiny lives to take later to our friend John Wu the vet whom we had just said goodbye to the evening before at our annual China Companion Animal Symposium.

The horrors of Maoshan – part 2

The market also doubles as a slaughterhouse – a round metal drum with orange spikes used for “de-furring” the cats and dogs sits just outside a burning cauldron that will be cooking their meat for customers towards lunchtime.

Close by, truck after truck piled high with white goats begin arriving at the market, while donkeys are being dragged out of sheds and loaded into cages, trucked off to be slaughtered elsewhere. Frightened and exhausted, several have no strength to rise to their feet and the traders kick them in the stomachs and beat their backs with metal poles until they can stand the agony no more and rise on shaking legs. Even then, the abuse continues and the traders continue beating them and grabbing their tails, painfully twisting them into knots, and forcing the donkeys to climb up the metal ramps into the cages.

Christie says she is better in the market this time, but her sad eyes tell a different story, and Rainbow’s face is ashen as he leans in to get a close-up of some trembling dogs crammed into cages. It is his first time. In reality, these places haunt you for days and weeks afterwards and we all work hard to keep positive at times like this.

But there is hope. Our 2nd China Companion Animal Symposium in November 2007 was as amazing and wonderful as the first. Nearly 40 group leaders – representing millions of people across the country – voting unanimously for goals that can turn the lives of these animals around. We have to persevere – and we will, because we can see the change each and every day.

Back in John’s vet clinic, we are prepared for him to say he would prefer to euthanise the two weak and tiny puppies. Administering two-hourly feeds over the following days is an enormous challenge for a vet already saturated with work in southern China. John just looks at them for two seconds before saying quietly, “let’s try”. Hope is eternal, but we are prepared for the worst knowing the origin of their disease-ridden birth.

If they pull through “Hope” and “Shame”, as we named these two little fur balls, will have a future as ambassadors for the dogs they left behind. My only regret is that I didn’t walk around the market for a few minutes showing them to dogs that might have been their mother. As the light fades from their eyes, I so wish they could know that their babies are safe.

To

  • read more about AnimalsAsia’s work on the cats, dogs and “food” animals in China, click here
  • learn how to help, click here

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12 responses to “Chinese Animal Death Camps

  1. i fuckin hate chins…i told my best friend…to keep me away from china…b/c i will sooo fuckin KILL THEM TO SHOW THEM HOW BAD THT HURTS…!!!y do they have to do this…im sittin here cryin bout the cats…and my best friend on the other hand and me r litterly ballin our eyes out bout the dogs…my best friend’s fav. animal r dogs…and i love kitties sooo yeah…so tell china this…from me and my friend kk…china this is to u kk…GO KILL URSELVS…FUCKOFF…!!!!

  2. Aleshia and your best friend,
    Tell China yourselves. But before you do, go and have a GOOD LOOK in your neighbourhood puppy and kitten mills and also the farms which gives you your meat, milk, cheese and eggs. After that, if you are at all sincere with your feelings, your racism and murderous bravado will not be limited to China.

  3. Pingback: China bans dog from Olympic menu « Tipped Ear Clan

  4. This is really horrible… i’m not going to say that I hate China, but i’m going to say that I hate people who harm animals… In any way. This is disgusting. Reading this blog kept me up until 5:30 AM, it was haunting, I couldn’t sleep. I could only imagine what GOING there must be like…

  5. After reading this story I’m extremely angry – I know in civilised countries meat is eaten but it is killed in a humane manner. In China, the people have no respect for animals; no animal rights and also no human rights. So, let’s all cheer for KARMA who inflicted the earthquake on China, that was mother nature’s way in saying stop this evil cruelty now! Enough is enough ! I’m sure KARMA will appear again let’s hope so. Lets all stick together and approach the Chinese government to turn things around for animal welfare.

  6. Maria,
    For a moment when I read your statement: “I know in civilised countries meat is eaten but it is killed in a humane manner”, I thought I was hallucinating because there is no such civilised country on this earth that I can find information on. Yes, pockets of it exist, but certainly not on a scale that qualifies any country as civilsied by your statement.

    Your IP indicates you are in the UK. Let me ask you: Have you actually SEEN how chickens, pigs, cows, goats in your neighbourhood are kept and killed before the meat reaches your table?

    Don’t make blanket statements and assumptions until you actually do know what you are saying.

    I see that you are a fan of Sharon Stone’s. While I will not invoke Karma so heartless-casually noe do I wish what the China earthquake victims are enduring on anyone, I hope you remember your gloating here when something similar happens in the UK – I will discount the London bombings since that was a man-made tragedy.

  7. I’d like to grab their necks with metal tongs and smash them into the floor. WTF I love animals. How can people be so asshole-ish? my freaking god. If I knew those people, they would be dead in about 2 seconds. Jesus. What did those poor animals do to those fuck- tards?? TARDY TARDY TARDY PANTS!!!!!!! Fuck them. Those bastards are going straight to hell.

  8. Fuck up people only thing to say. If you can actually kill a living thing that way then you might as well pray to god or whoever to save your dirty life before you burn in hell. Wait actually dont .We dont want to save a filthy fuckers soul so he can go to heaven after he killed and manged something like that.Just imagine if you can kill a defenseless puppy then you should get your balls ripped off and your stomach slit open so some hungry stray dogs eat your ass clean. I dont hate chinese i hate IGNORANT PIECES OF SHIT who are too fucked up in the brain to think that just because your going to kill something you could have some fun killing it.AND FOR THE FUCKTARDS WHO HATE CHINESE GUESS WHAT!! SOME CHINESE PEOPLE ACTUALLY HAVE MORE SENSE THAN THE OTHER SHITS TO KNOW THAT ITS WRONG SO THEY HAVE ANIMAL RIGHTS PROGRAMS TO HELP STOP THE KILLING OF THESE ANIMALS. people really need to think before writing stupid bull.

  9. i HATE CHINESE AND BEIJINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!! they suck and i wish they knew how much everyone hates them!!!! poor animals i wish they will be safe and that chinese and beijins will be sewed and die in holes! poor animlas:(*crys*

  10. i hate those chinese sons of bitches!!!!!!!!! IF U CHINESE R LISTNING WELL THEN LISTN TO THIS GO DIE IN A HOLE AND GO FUCK URSELFS U MOTHERFUCKIN ASSHOLES WITH NO LIFE!!! GO BURN IN HELL!!!!! PLZ PLZ I JUST WISH THOSE ANIMALS WILL BE SAVED SOON. i love them so much its just so sad

  11. This is horrible i agree karma will come to china there heartless
    and for u “calsifer” i suggest u stop been a smart ass and start
    getting your thoughts straight. by giving in ur opinion to try
    to sound smart it aint working so please respect wat others have to say and
    keep ur thoughts about other peoples comments to urself..

  12. It says a lot about people like Laffy who on the one hand have no qualms whatsoever about making public his/her mean little thoughts about other people’s comments, yet at the same time name-calls others who don’t share the exact same viewpoints as him/her, and demands others to respect others, all in the same breath.