5,000 pets found dead in boxes at Chinese shipping depot

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The boxes in which live rabbits, guinea pigs, cats and dogs were without food or water are seen in a photo provided by the Utopia Animal Rescue charity in China’s Henan Province at Dongxing Logistics Station in Luohe City.


Beijing – At least 5,000 pets were found dead in cardboard shipping boxes last week at a logistics facility in central China, likely a misstep in the supply chain of China’s thriving mass-breeding industry. Only one two hundred animals were rescued, and authorities have launched an investigation into a serious search in Henan province, a local animal rescue group told CBS News on Wednesday.

Sister Hua, founder of the animal rescue group Utopia, said, “The station was closed with an express box with thousands of animals that had already died and carcasses all over the place to rot.” She does not use her real name, saying she prefers to pay attention to animals, not personally.

“It was like a living hell,” she told CBS News in a phone interview on Wednesday.

This report has been included in the list of dead

The animals included rabbits, guinea pigs, cats and dogs, all housed in plastic or metal cages, wrapped in cardboard boxes with breathable perforations. They were left in boxes without food or water for about a week before being discovered at Dongxing Logistics Station in Luohe City, Henan.

“It was clear that they died of asphyxiation, dehydration and starvation,” Hua said.

Chinese law prohibits the shipping of live animals in general packaging. Hua said that it is likely that the animals were purchased online as pets, but were left stranded at the logistics depot due to a delayed collection, because the logistics company involved was on a shipment that violated transportation laws. May have refused to sign.

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A photo provided by the animal rescue group Utopia shows some of the nearly 5,000 dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs found at Dongxing Logistics Station in Luohe City, Henan Province, China.

Handout / utopia / sister happened

“Misunderstandings within the shipping company and inconsistency in enforcing shipping regulations directly led to the tragedy,” Hua said. “Of course, both buyers and sellers also bear responsibility.”

The shipping company, Unda, told local media that it was not aware of the incident, but its staff confirmed that they had allowed the live animals to be carried in boxes with holes, according to the Global Times newspaper .

Hua and 20 of his fellow volunteers managed to rescue 200 rabbits and 50 dogs and cats from the scene. Many were adopted on site and critically ill animals were sent to veterinary clinics. Local authorities made arrangements to collect, disinfect and bury thousands of dead animals.

After a rescue operation in Luohe City, Hua and his charity heard of another batch of animals, which had been transported to the nearby village of Dengeng. After a 13-hour rescue operation, the group was able to rescue about 1,000 more animals, mostly rabbits. But that was about half the total number found on the second site, and the rest died.

She told CBS News that both incidents are unacceptable in the context of animal welfare, and a threat to human public health.

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Dozens of animals, mostly rabbits, rescued by the animal rescue organization Utopia, are seen in the village of Dameng in Henan, China. About 1,000 animals were rescued at the site, but were found dead in small cages.

Handout / utopia / sister happened

COVID-19 Given the pandemic We are confronted, it is so terrible to see those animals alive, taken in such a way, and even dead, ”she said.

“Go for adoption, rather than illegal purchase and shipping of animals,” Hua urged the public, while asking Chinese authorities to “strictly enforce” what was already on the books about shipping live animals.


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