Warning: This story may disturb some readers.
The Daily Mail is reporting that China has started an aggressive plan to clean up Beijing before the Olympics by rounding up cats and putting them in “death camps” on the edges of the city.
The government has been warning citizens of the diseases that cats carry and have been ordering residents to help remove the cats from the street.
Owners have been dumping their cats in the streets because of the warnings, and the hundreds of abandoned cats are then picked up by special collection teams.
The cats are kept in small cages at the death camps. Disease spreads quickly among the cats, and the government simply waits for the cats to die.
Animal welfare groups are protesting the rounding up of cats and bringing them to the death camps, but they are afraid what authorities will do to them.
Qi Yan, the founder of a cat lovers’ group, negotiated the release of 30 cats from one of the compounds, but the cats were in such horrible conditions that half of them died after being released.
Yan said, “These cats are being left to die. It is very inhumane. People don’t want to keep cats in Beijing any more so they abandon them or send them to the compounds. When we went inside, we saw about 70 cats being kept in cages stacked one on top of the other in two tiny rooms. Disease spreads quickly among them and they die slowly in agony and distress. The government won’t even do the cats the kindness of giving them lethal injections when they become sick. They just wait for them to die.”
She added, “We have tried to negotiate with the government to stop the round-ups and to introduce cut-price neutering services so that people can afford to keep their pets but they won’t listen to us. They are not thinking about the cats. They just want to get results in the quickest way possible, by clearing as many cats from the city as they can.”
Hu Yuan (pictured here) has been running one of the few refuges in the city for abandoned pets. She has taken in 70 cats over the past year and is caring for 250 abandoned cats.
Yuan said that if she doesn’t take them in, the cats will surely die. She added that cats are dumped on her doorstep frequently.
The round-up has been particularly intense in areas around Olympic venues and in streets and alleys surrounding five-star hotels where guests will stay during the summer games.
Animal welfare groups estimate that tens of thousands of cats have been collected in the past few months.
Christie Yang of the charity Animals Asia, said, “We understand that with the Olympic Games the Beijing government is eager to show the world the city in a good light. But capturing and dealing with cats in such an inhumane way will seriously tarnish the image of Beijing and the Games.”