Feline Fraud

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Chinese police rescued more than 1,000 cats from being slaughtered and sold as pork or mutton, an incident that sparked concern across the country over food safety and animal rights, the BBC reported.

State-affiliated media said this month that police conducted the rescue operation following a tip-off from animal welfare advocates in the eastern city of Zhangjiagang. The activists had noticed a large number of felines being held in wooden boxes, and monitored them for six days.

Authorities later intercepted the truck carrying the animals and moved the creatures to a shelter. However, there were no reports of arrests, nor whether the cats were strays or pets, according to CNN.

Even so, the rescue operation uncovered an illicit trade of cat meat, which could have raked in as much as $20,500.

One activist told local media that a pound of cat meat can sell for around $4 by passing it off as mutton or pork. Each cat can yield about four to five pounds of meat after being processed.

The incident quickly prompted condemnation across Chinese social media, with some users calling for tighter inspections of the country’s food industry.

While China has laws to protect livestock and endangered animals, there is no comprehensive legislation against animal cruelty for pets and strays.

Scandals related to food and safety have long plagued the country.

In June, a student at a college in Jiangxi found a rat’s head in his school dinner, resulting in uproar across the province. School officials initially denied the allegations, saying it was duck meat – before admitting that the student was right.

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