Tens of Thousands of Cats Are Being Rounded Up and Sent to Death Camps as Beijing Prepares to Host the Summer Olympics
"People don't want to keep cats in Beijing anymore so they abandon them or send them to the compounds...We do not believe any of the cats that go in there survive. They are like death camps."
-- Yan Qi
While the eyes of the world have been focused on the continuing violence in Lhasa, tens of thousands of feral and domestic cats are being systematically rounded up and taken to twelve death camps situated in and around Beijing. Crammed into cages so tightly that they can barely move, they are then left to die from the cumulative effects of disease, which spreads like wildfire under such inhumane circumstances, hunger, dehydration, and a total lack of medical care. (See photo above of the Da Niu Fong Village death camp.)
This mass extermination campaign, which began last July, is aimed at drastically reducing Beijing's estimated half-a-million cats before the start of the Olympic Games later this summer. In fact, a blogger who scribbles under the nom de plume of Pixelpainter estimates that as many as two-hundred-thousand cats could be slaughtered before the start of competition. (See Xinhua China Nachrichten, March 21, 2008, "Aufraumaktion fur Olympia: Katzenjagd in Peking.")
In order to gain the public's support for this act of sheer barbarism, the authorities erroneously have branded all cats as potential disease carriers and this in turn has prompted frightened citizens to each day dump hundreds of domestic cats in the street. These cats, along with ferals, are then trapped by special collection teams which either kill them on the spot or transport them to the death camps.
"These cats are being left to die. It is very inhumane," animal rights activist Yan Qi told the Daily Mail on March 8th. (See "Olympics Clean-Up Chinese Style: Inside Beijing's Shocking Death Camp for Cats.") "People don't want to keep cats in Beijing anymore so they abandon them or send them to the compounds." (N.B. In order to protect the identities of the animal rights activists, all names quoted in the Daily Mail's account are fictitious.)
Moreover, house cats fare even worse than ferals under these deplorable circumstances. "It is the abandoned pets that suffer the most and die the soonest," Yan added. "Most refuse to eat or drink and get sick more quickly than the feral cats."
Although it is cold comfort in that almost none of these unfortunate animals ever come out alive, Yan's testimony is yet another piece of evidence that contradicts the predominant view that domesticated cats are healthier and fitter than ferals. (See Cat Defender posts of August 22, 2007 and October 19, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Indoor Cats Are Dying from Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and Various Toxins in the Home" and "Smokers Are Killing Their Cats, Dogs, Birds, and Infants by Continuing to Light Up in Their Presence.")
In particular, this blatant falsehood is employed time and time again all over the world in order to justify the killing of perhaps as many as one-hundred-million homeless cats each year. The United States alone is guilty of exterminating an estimated fifteen-million of them annually.
"We do not believe any of the cats that go in there survive," Yan added. "They are like death camps." (See photo on the right of an injured white cat.)
Nonetheless, Yan's group was able to secure the release of thirty cats from a compound in the district of Shahe in northwest Beijing. Unfortunately, about half of them were in such bad shape that they died within days of their reprieves. The fate of the remainder of the cats is unknown.
Tant pis, the government's campaign of demonization has been so successful that even ordinary citizens have begun taking matters into their own hands. Par exemple, teachers at a kindergarten for the children of workers at a cigarette factory recently suckered six cats, including two that were pregnant, into traps baited with tuna and subsequently bludgeoned them to death.
Although the Olympics are the primary motivation behind the carnage inflicted upon these totally innocent cats, the Chinese's legendary cheapness is another factor. Specifically, many of them are too tightfisted to pony up the $28 required to have their cats sterilized.
Restaurants in Beijing also have joined their counterparts in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and elsewhere in serving feline flesh. (See Cat Defender post of February 8, 2006 entitled "Stray Cats Are Being Rounded Up in Shanghai, Butchered, and Sold as Mutton in Restaurants and on the Street.")
The Chinese also slaughter at least two million cats and dogs annually for their pelts. (See Cat Defender post of December 15, 2005 entitled "Heather Mills Asks EU to Ban Sale of Cat and Dog Fur; Paul McCartney Calls for Boycott of Chinese Goods and Olympics.") This is in addition to a million and one-half raccoon dogs that are killed each year for their hides. (See Cat Defender post of March 1, 2007 entitled "Top Retailers and Fashion Designers Are Caught Again Selling Dog Fur but U.S. Officials Continue to Look the Other Way.")
Christie Yang of Animals Asia has not been the least bit hesitant to condemn the government's unconscionable crimes. "We understand that with the Olympic Games the Beijing government is eager to show the world the city in a good light," she told the Daily Mail. "But capturing and dealing with cats in such an inhumane way will seriously tarnish the image of Beijing and the games."
While it would be inaccurate to state that China does not care one whit about what the world thinks of its animal rights record, it nevertheless is not about to mend its evil ways just because of international censure. Moreover, its crimes against the animal kingdom are by no means limited to cats.
In a repeat performance of the carnage of 2006, it is believed that perhaps as many as ten-thousand stray dogs also are being rounded up and killed. This is in addition to the Chinese's established practice of raising Saint Bernards and other breeds for the dinner table. (See Salon, March 24, 2008, "An Olympic Outrage.")
At least seven-thousand Moon Bears are imprisoned on two-hundred or so farms where they are tortured for their bile. (See Cat Defender post of November 17, 2005 entitled "Chinese Farmer Gets His Just Deserts as He Is Killed and Eaten by Moon Bears He Tortured for Their Bile.")
The Chinese also are pushing the rare Chinese Mountain Cat further down the road to extinction by continuing to hunt it for its fur. (See Cat Defender post of October 2, 2007 entitled "Chinese Mountain Cats Are Under Assault from Fur Traffickers, Farmers, Global Warming, and Wildlife Officials.")
Their most egregious crime arguably may have been Mao's decision to declare the South China Tiger, leopards, and wolves as pests. (See Cat Defender posts of November 2, 2007 and March 11, 2008 entitled, respectively, "For the First Time in Three Decades, Rare South China Tiger Is Confirmed to Be Alive in the Wild" and "South China Tigers Are Being Bred and Trained at a South African Reserve for an Eventual Return to the Wild.")
In addition to cats, the authorities in Beijing also are sweeping the streets clean of the homeless and beggars. In particular, they are either being forcibly removed to camps outside the metropolitan area or given tickets back to the rural enclaves from whence many of them have come in the first place.
As heartless and inhumane as that is, such behavior is by no means confined to Beijing. Au contraire, it is de rigueur in the so-called civilized Western world. For example, earlier this year Nicolas Sarkozy ordered a homeless camp in central Paris to be destroyed.
In the United States, the homeless are treated far worse than mass murderers and terrorists in that they are summarily evicted from the sites of Super Bowls, political conventions, and other important events.
Although it is tempting to call for a boycott of the games because of China's slaughter of innocent cats, that would be hypocritical. In 2004, Greek authorities poisoned and killed thousands of cats and dogs in the run-up to the summer games in Athens and, with the notable exception of Greek Animal Rescue Canada, scarcely a word of protest was said against it.
Moreover, the Western world's treatment of cats is every bit as deplorable as that of the Chinese. In Old Blighty, for instance, the newspapers are chock-full every day of horrific stories concerning cats that have been maimed by BB guns, doused with acid, and mutilated in a thousand other barbaric ways. (See Cat Defender posts of May 7, 2007 and September 25, 2007 entitled, respectively, "British Punks Are Having a Field Day Maiming Cats with Air Guns but the Peelers Continue to Look the Other Way" and "Acid Attack Leaves Solskjaer with Severe Injuries and Horrific Pain as His Heartbroken and Cash-Strapped Family Struggles to Cope.") Exacerbating matters further, the authorities steadfastly refuse to take animal cruelty cases seriously.
More pertinently, although the English have been quick to excoriate the Chinese, their mistreatment of the hundreds of feral cats occupying the construction site of Olympic Park in the Stratford section of East London is equally outrageous. (See photo above.)
In particular, if it had not been for the dogged work of the Celia Hammond Animal Trust (CHAT) many of the cats occupying the eight-hundred-acre site undoubtedly would have perished once the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) began demolition work. All totaled, more than two-hundred structures are being razed in preparation for the 2012 Summer Games. (See the Daily Telegraph, November 27, 2007, "Olympics Team 'Save Newts but Not Cats'.")
As of March 19th, Hammond and her dedicated staff had managed to rescue one-hundred-eighty-six cats and kittens. (See photo above on the right of two rescued cats and the one immediately below of Hammond and veterinary nurse Louise Russell with some rescued kittens.) According to the organization's web page, only a few cats remain on the site but they have been so traumatized by the collapsing buildings that they are therefore extremely difficult to trap.
Furthermore, the ODA has not disclosed either how many cats it has killed in Stratford or if it has any contingency plans in situ in order to save those cats now residing at alternative venues in Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, and Cardiff.
Australia, which has a long and despicable history of exterminating feral cats by the hundreds of thousands, has now begun to hunt them for food as well as for their pelts. (See Cat Defender posts of September 21, 2006 and September 7, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Aussies' Mass Extermination of Cats Opens the Door for Mice and Rabbits to Wreak Havoc on Macquarie" and "Australians Renounce Civilization and Revert to Savages with the Introduction of a Grotesque Plan to Get Rid of Cats by Eating Them.")
Their cousins to the south in New Zealand are every bit as inhumane and idiotic as they are when it comes to the treatment of cats. The petit fait that their feline eradication program on Little Barrier Island has backfired on them has not deterred them one little bit from going ahead with the same murderous plan for Stewart Island. (See Actualites News Environnement of Lyon, December 11, 2007, "Eradiquer les rats et les chats n' a pas permis de mieux sauvegarder les petrels en Nouvelle-Zelande" and New Zealand Herald, March 11, 2008, "Thirty-Five-Million-Dollar Plan to Rid Island of Rats and Feral Cats.")
Israel also has been justifiably lambasted for its notorious treatment of cats both within its own borders as well as in the Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon. (See Cat Defender posts of November 7, 2005 and August 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Israeli Colonialists in Gaza and West Bank Leave Behind Thousands of Cats to Die of Thirst, Hunger, and Predation" and "Israeli Police Turn a Blind Eye to the Poisoning of Fifty-Three Cats and Seven Dogs in Kiryat Tivon.")
In the Czech Republic, an estimated two-thousand to three-thousand cats are stolen off the streets each year and killed for their fur. Swiss fur traffickers are likewise suspected in the theft of thousands of cats in Haute-Savoie, France. (See Le Monde, November 9, 2007, "Disparition de chats en Haute-Savoie: soupcon d'un trafic vers la Suisse.")
In Deutschland, fur traffickers and vivisectors also have been blamed for the disappearance of thousands of cats. (See Cat Defender post of February 5, 2007 entitled "Fur Traffickers and Vivisectors Suspected in the Disappearance of Berlin's Katzen.")
European countries, such as Deutschland, Switzerland, Belgium and others, also allow feral cats to be shot on sight. (See photo below of a cat that was gunned down by a hunter in Switzerland.) This odious practice is permitted not only because it is a means of controlling the feline population but also because it provides sport for hunters. (See Blick Zeitung of Zurich, February 16, 2008, "Im Wald wird scharf geschossen" and 7 Sur 7 of Bruxelles, February 13, 2008, "GAIA mobilise contre la chasse aux chats.")
In addition to the wholesale slaughter that occurs every year at shelters in America, legions of inveterate ailurophobes that masquerade as bird and wildlife advocates employ every underhanded, illegal, and immoral stratagem that happens to pop into their deranged and polluted gourds in order to demonize and kill cats. (See Cat Defender posts of December 8, 2007 and August 28, 2007 entitled, respectively, "All the Lies That Fit: Scheming New York Times Hires a Bird Lover to Render His 'Unbiased' Support for James M. Stevenson" and "TNR Programs, Domestic Cats, Dogs, and Humans Imperiled by Wildlife Proponents' Use and Abuse of Coyotes and Fishers.")
When it comes to just plain vileness, however, no group of individuals can hold a candle to the South Africans. In addition to gunning down all of the cats that previously resided on Robben Island, they deliberately introduced the distemper virus (Feline Panleukopenia) on Marion Island in order to get rid of an additional three-thousand cats that were living there. (See Cat Defender posts of March 23, 2006 and March 23, 2007 entitled, respectively, "South Africans, Supported by Ailurophobic PETA, Are Slaughtering More Cats on Robben Island" and "Bird Lovers in South Africa Break Out the Champagne to Celebrate the Merciless Gunning Down of the Last of Robben Island's Cats.")
As repugnant as all of these policies are, the stubborn fact remains that they are pretty much the norm all over the world. Even the Egyptians have taken to poisoning and starving them to death. (See Cat Defender post of April 13, 2006 entitled "Once Worshiped as Gods, Maus Are Now Being Poisoned to Death by Egyptian Authorities.")
Of course, killing and maligning cats is not anything new. No animal down through history has been treated half as horribly as Felis domesticus.
Considering the culpability of all nations in the gross violation of both animal and human rights, the international community therefore needs to either clean up its own act or to just forget about staging events such as the Olympics. Besides, if cities such as Athens, Beijing, and London feel compelled to kill cats and dogs en masse and to give the heave-ho to the homeless and the poor, the games are not worth presenting in the first place.
Moreover, the games may have become too politicized to any longer be a viable undertaking. Anyone who was alive back in 1972 vividly recalls the abduction and massacre in Munchen of eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team as well as a German policeman by the Palestinian group, Black September. This time around Tibet is the pot that is boiling over and should the unrest spread to Beijing the games will have to be either moved or canceled.
Nevertheless, anyone willing to sign a petition condemning the slaughter of cats and dogs in Beijing is encouraged to do so at www.katzencontent.com.
Photos: Daily Mail (Da Niu Village and injured white cat), CHAT (London construction site and pair of rescued cats), The Evening Standard (Hammond and Russell with Kittens), and Dominik Baumann of Blick Zeitung (cat that was gunned down in Switzerland).