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Chinese netizens prevent 800-cat stir-fry

Internet alert prompts rescue operation

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Chinese animal lovers saved more than 800 cats from ending up on dinner plates after answering an internet call to intercept a cargo of live feline delicacies, Reuters reports.

Animal rights activist Huo Puyang posted a message online that her daughter had stumbled across two trucks packed with cats in a Shanghai parking lot. While one truck made good its escape, Huo called for an instant mobilisation to prevent the remaining vehicle's cargo ending up in Guangdong, where some locals apparently "pride themselves as gourmets who will eat anything that flies, crawls or swims".

Thirty activists duly answered the call, and Huo called in the cops who hauled driver and truck to the police station. Huo recalled: "It was a cruel sight ... Pregnant cats and kittens were packed into the boxes. Many cats had died and smelled. Some were trampled to death. Others bit each other."

However, the police said there was no evidence to show the cats were stolen, and suggested the moggie sympathisers cut a deal for their purchase. The truck driver demanded 14 yuan (91 pence) a pop, but after "hours of haggling", the rescuers stumped up over 10,000 yuan (650 quid, by our reckoning) for for a total 840 cats.

Huo is now making a further appeal - for cash to pay maintain her purchases. "We have a difficult task. The cost of feeding them pales compared to medical fees, vaccines and sterilisation," she admitted. ®

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