There’s nothing more heartbreaking than realizing that a beloved family pet has gone missing—and it’s even worse to realize that they may not have wandered off but been stolen.
That’s exactly what The Humane Society International believes may have happened with the hundreds of cats they rescued from a crowded, unsanitary truck bound for a slaughterhouse in Nanjing, China, before they intervened, though.
BREAKING: HSI and our partners, CAWA and Vshine, helped rescue 620 cats–many wearing collars–from a truck bound for a…
HSI managed to stop the truck and take a look inside, where they discovered 620 cats crowded into steel cages and bound for a slaughterhouse to be turned into sausages.
A number of the cats were still wearing collars, which is what gave the organization the belief that the animals had been stolen from their loving homes. It was hard to tell how well they had been treated in their previous lives, though; they were dehydrated, starving, and severely malnourished while crammed into cages with little room to move around. They had been treated like animals simply bound for the slaughter, instead of being treated with love and proper care, before they were thankfully rescued and brought elsewhere to be saved.
HSI and their partners, CAWA and Vshine, brought the cats in for emergency medical treatment before dispersing them to partner shelters and foster homes to be properly cared for.
Followers of the story on Facebook were horrified by the conditions that the cats had been discovered in, and they were heartbroken at the sheer volume of cats that were found in the truck on their way to be killed. But they were equally grateful that the rescue had been pulled off, and many expressed gratitude that it was a cat rescue; while dog rescues are often brought up in media reports, cats get far less attention.
“FINALLY! A story about a cat rescue! Many stories about dog rescues from meat farms, etc but never cats!” one person wrote.
“It takes very strong individuals to go against the masses. Hugging my cat, so proud of you all!” added another.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that HSI and other animal activist groups have had to intervene in order to save cats from being slaughtered for meat. In the spring of 2015, HSI rescued a pair of cats from a slaughterhouse in Yulin, China.
Those two were able to be brought into the United States to be put up for adoption in Washington, D.C., after being discovered by a HSI worker who had been in Yulin to engage with local activists in protest of the region’s annual mass dog slaughter. They were rescued alongside a dog, which was also able to be put up for adoption and brought into a forever home.
The ability to rescue all of these cats and dogs from slaughterhouses will ultimately require a culture steeped in the tradition of cooking their meat to be changed—and will require more governmental diligence on ensuring that animals being consumed as food are treated humanely in the process of their slaughter.
For now, though, the knowledge that organizations like HSI are doing their best to help change the culture and rescue the mistreated animals is uplifting. It provides optimism that change is on the horizon—and that in the meantime, there are people working to rescue the animals that are incapable of saving themselves.