Update: Chinese courier company is fined for delivering live pets in ‘blind boxes’
Published: May 12, 2021 06:18 PM Updated: May 16, 2021 11:45 AM
Over 100 animals received care at an animal helping center in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province on May 7 after they were sold via blind boxes. Photo: VCG

Over 100 animals received care at an animal helping center in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province on May 7 after they were sold via "blind boxes." Photo: VCG

A courier company in East China's Jiangsu Province was fined 30,000 yuan ($4,647) for illegally delivering live pets including dogs and cats, causing all the pets in 13 boxes to die, a regulator in the province announced during the weekend. 

ZTO Express Wuxi branch, the courier involved in the illegal delivery, is also suspected of other illegal activities and a further investigation is underway, Suzhou Postal Office said on Saturday. The company is required to immediately stop illegal deliveries of live animals.

The incident was first reported last week in Suzhou city, Jiangsu, only a few days after two other courier companies in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province were ordered to suspend operations and fined for delivering blind boxes containing live animals.

The enforcement officers from Suzhou Post in East China's Jiangsu Province were tipped on Tuesday that "blind boxes" containing live animals were found in ZTO Express' transfer center in the city.

Unfortunately, the officers found 13 boxes with animals all dead when they reached the site at 3 pm Tuesday afternoon, the local post authority said via its official WeChat account on Wednesday. None of the animals had inspection or quarantine certificates.

These express deliveries were delivered on May 5 from a village in Pizhou of Jiangsu, and arrived at Chengdu transfer center on May 7, before being sent back to the original location. They were sent to the Suzhou transfer center by mistake, according to the authority.

In addition to "violating the national animal epidemic prevention regulations," delivering animals via "blind boxes" may be associated with other crimes such as theft, Guo Peng, director of the Center for Animal Protection Studies at Shandong University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Judging from the appearance of these cats and dogs, it is very likely that these animals come from "an illegal industrial chain" that has been in existence for nearly 30 years, Guo said.

"Puppies and kittens are 'by products' of this chain and have less profit as meat," Guo said, adding that it is probably "a new form of marketing they invented" which remains to be under investigation.

So far, the express company has completed bio-safety disposal of these animals and the case is under investigation.

Earlier this month, two express companies in Chengdu involved in selling and delivering blind boxes with live animals were fined 30,000 yuan ($4,670) and 50,000 yuan respectively.

The business of blind boxes takes advantage of users' curiosity, and has become a hot business venture in China, but having pets sold in blind boxes endangers the animals' safety, and has rightly been criticized by Chinese netizens.