5,000 animals found dead in express boxes in Central China’s Henan: volunteers

By Huang Lanlan Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/29 18:34:29

(photo: courtesy of animal rescue organization Wutuobang)

At least 5,000 pets were recently found dead in express boxes at a logistics station in Central China's Henan Province, local animal protection volunteers told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Several thousand animals - rabbits, guinea pigs, cats and dogs - were transported in express packages in more than 6,000 small boxes to Dongxing logistics station in Henan's Luohe City earlier this month, said volunteer Dan, a member of the local animal rescue organization Wutuobang.

The overwhelming majority of the animals had died on September 22 when some 20 Wutuobang organization members rushed to the station to rescue them, Dan said. "We rescued about 50 cats and dogs as well as 200 rabbits, but it was fewer than 5 percent of all animals there," she told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The number of remaining dead animals could amount to at least 5,000, the rescue organization estimated. "The stinking boxes cluttered the station, and lots of animals inside had died of suffocation, starvation or thirst," Dan sighed, adding that they had buried some of the dead animals three meters underground in farmlands with an excavator.

For the rescued animals, volunteers have made sure the healthy ones are adopted by local families while the unhealthy ones have been sent to pet clinics for treatment, said Dan.

These poor animals, allegedly from a breeding farm in East China's Anhui Province, would have been sent to buyers nationwide who ordered them as pets online, wrote pet blogger Li Chade in a recent article about the incident, which has received more than 4.5 million views online as of Tuesday.

The animals were transported in three trucks from the farm to a logistics station in Henan's capital city of Zhengzhou on September 17, and were later taken to and dropped off at a logistics station in Luohe after many of them had died on the way, Li wrote.

The waybills attached to the boxes showed that they were transported by the express delivery company Yunda. Two employees of Yunda told the Global Times on Tuesday that they hadn't heard of the incident, but confirmed that Yunda allows the express delivery of live animals. "Animals are transported in boxes with holes," they said.

Dan, recalling this batch of animals were put in plastic or iron cages wrapped in paper boxes, said she is strongly against transporting animals this way as it can't guarantee the health and safety of the animals. 

Chinese law actually bans the mailing of live animals in ordinary packages, legal experts said. Rules for the Implementation of the Postal Law regulates that live animals cannot be sent via post or put into postal materials, said lawyer Zhang Bo.

"Nonetheless, as the rules were introduced decades ago, in 1990, without corresponding penalizing measures, it's not easy for administrative departments to directly punish the violators," Zhang told the Global Times.

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