The Caged Animals of China

The following is part of an article printed in the Daily Mail recently - in order to try and stop this barbaric behaviour we are hoping that we can get as many signatures as possible, which we will then send to the Daily Mail in the hope that they can take this to the appropriate authorities \'The haunting sound of animal wailing fills the air. Dogs are crammed so tightly together into tiny metal cages they cannot even bark. Yards away the blood-spattered carcasses of others lie on the ground. This is Three Birds\' Market in Guangzhou, China, officially described as a poultry market. Cages crammed with cats lie around the market in Guangzhou, China. It is replacement for the Xinyuan animal market in the same city, closed down last year after international outrage over its treatment of animals and a possible link to the SARS virus. But the brutality has not gone away. The new £33 million market opened at the end of last year and so far 900 businesses are renting space. Cages of dogs and cats - some of them bred as domestic pets - are piled high and when an animal is chosen for sale it is bludgeoned with an iron bar until it is close to death before, being handed over to the purchaser. Calipers are used to pick the animals out of cages "The customers want fresh \'live\' meat," said Huang Lu Sheng, one of the stallholders. "When the dog dies slowly there is much more flavour in the meat. Some customers want the dog half-dead. "Then the taste is very strong and they can prove to their customers that the meat is really fresh. "I do not care about the dog suffering. It is only to eat and the customer is the one that chooses how it should die. "But most customers actually want the dog beaten to death and put in a plastic bag. It\'s easier to carry like that." A cage full of cats waiting to be sold. Their destiny is to end up in tiger, phoenix and dragon soup - actually consisting of cat, chicken and snake A teenager we saw holding a hollow metal pole was an expert in "not quite killing" the animals, we were told. As his colleague held the dog\'s neck with long metal calipers to prevent them moving, the young man struck each dog with the pole several times on the skull. Each swing of the metal bar resulted in a dull thump and a desperate whimper from the poor animal. The unconscious dogs, with blood dripping from their head wounds and mouths, were dumped outside the cage. Next they were bound with metal wire and strapped onto a motorbike or thrown into the back of a lorry. Sheng went on to explain that butchered meat is also sold, with the dogs killed before being dipped in boiling water to remove their fur. His stall is one of at least 30 at the market that specialise in dogs - although he would not discuss prices. He sells around 500 a month but, having only been trading for two months, he expects business to increase as more customers hear about the new market. Even in the absence of any animal rights legislation, Three Birds\' owners are wary of plying their gruesome trade too openly, and advertising for the market refers only to poultry. At the entrance, there are cages full of ducks, geese, chicken and wildfowl. But further inside, away from the public, are the stalls trading in cats and dogs. The cats sell for around £1 per kilo wholesale. Weighed by the dozen on large scales, they end up in restaurants, where they are sold for around £1.65 per kilo to the public. Restaurant owners and middlemen buy them by the sack-load to use in tiger, phoenix and dragon soup - a delicacy actually consisting of cat, chicken and snake. Sadly there were many children in the market witnessing the cruelty. Zhang Xiao Mei, the 12-year-old daughter of a cat and dog stallholder, said: "I do not want to see this. I hate it when I see my father killing these animals. "I have nightmares about getting chased by dogs that have blood all over their tongues. Around 10 million dogs are slaughtered for food annually in China where dog meat is said to increase the positive energy of one\'s body (the yang) and improve circulation. Cat meat is also considered to be warming, with the stomach, intestines and thighs consumed for their perceived benefits and the rest of the animal thrown away. The Three Birds\' Market proves that despite China\'s bid to clean up its act before the Beijing Olympics next year, on the issue of animal cruelty it still has a long way to go.\'

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