5,000 pets in boxes starved for 5 days in transport to China depot

The illicit pet trade is alive and well–but that can’t be said about 4,000 puppies, kittens, rabbits, and other adult fur friends after a shipment of illegally-transported animals was discovered in a Dongxing logistics hub in Luohe, Henan.

Pet cemetery

4,000 pets, which include dogs, cats, and rabbits that were ordered online from China were discovered dead or rotting in their boxes after they were stranded in a Chinese depot in Luohe, Henan. According to a report by TODAY, rescuers were only able to save a little over 1,000 animals, as the others had perished and even began to rot due to decomposition.

The rescuers discovered the pitiful animals on September 22, but the batch had been sent out from their pickup point since September 16, with no proper care.

The report said, “We’ve done rescues before but this was the first time I had experienced something this tragic,” said a volunteer with the NGO Utopia Animal Rescue.”

“When we got there, there were several small mountains of boxes containing animals. Many of them were dead and had started to rot and give off terrible smells,” the rescuer said, reporting the harrowing scene of boxes housing dead pets-to-be.

Reports also said that the pets had not received proper care, water, or food for at least five days. Personnel at the cargo depot said that once they saw that there was a truck carrying live animals into their depot, they refused to accept them.

But the truck driver then dumped the cargo of animals at the depot anyway, and left without a backward glance. The report said that it is illegal to transport pets through the Chinese postal system. Pets can, however, be transported by plane if the company sending them is able to show papers they can be taken care of during transit.

What company transported the pets?

The same report said that a company named Yandu Express had their waybills printed on all the packages containing the animals. TODAY’s report said, “Yunda Express representative told online media outlet Jiemian News on Wednesday that the packing slips found on the boxes were preprinted for previous customers and had been taken and used without permission.”

There is a growing concern or the illegal pet trade, as a lot of businesses have shifted to e-commerce, which means that incidents like this could happen more often as even pets are ordered online.

How bad was the condition of the animals who were saved?

The report said that 870 rabbits, 99 hamsters, 70 dogs and 28 cats were rescued, with most of the well animals homed and the sick ones being cared for voluntarily by pet stores and volunteers.

Reports also suggested that a lot of these animals were quite young, with the rabbits in particular facing the most casualties from such callous actions because some of them were less than a month old.

According to veterinarians from the University of Florida, young rabbits are difficult to care for since they require that they are near their mother and their nests kept clean to avoid disease. Fresh hay needs to be available at all times and should be changed out if it gets too dirty.

Photo from South China Morning post via Weibo



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