Wildlife trafficking, sadly, is concept that most people are familiar with. But, you might be surprised to know that the trade of domestic animals also occurs across the world. Yes, by domestic animals we mean dogs and cats!

In China, an online group of pet lovers recently helped to thwart the sale of 1,000 cats – both domestic and wild – who were destined to become meat and fur in the north-eastern province of Liaoning. Police in Liaoning, believe that these cats were stolen from their guardians by a group of six people who had been observed in Dailian City searching for cats at night time.

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After noticing a spike in cat-nappings in the city, a group of citizens set out to discover who was behind the disappearance of their beloved pets. Taking to social media, residents of Dailian were able to share details about their missing pets and some had even witnessed people roaming the streets at night stealing cats. Given this information, the police were able to track the traffickers back to the den where they were stockpiling cats and discovered more than 1,000 cats who were being stored in cages. Once the suspects were apprehended, some 300 cats were returned to their loving guardians and homes.

It is culturally acceptable to consume cat in some regions of China, in fact it is even considered a delicacy. It is believed that these cats were destined to be sold in meat markets or to fur traders.

To a Western audience, this practice is undoubtedly abhorrent, but it begs the question: What differentiates farm animals from pets?

While some people might believe there is a stark difference between animals we think of as food and domesticated pets, when you think about the constructs that separate these “categories” of animals, we’re left to wonder, are these animals really that different? What about a cow makes them any different from your dog … other than the fact that you would never dream of eating your dog? Cows are highly social and emotional beings who love to snuggle as much as your pet might. And yet, we treat cows like commodities. We might not think twice if we heard the news that 1,000 cows were being sold to become meat or leather … in fact, most people would think this is what cows are meant for.

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We are so pleased to see these cats rescued and returned to their rightful guardians, but as Green Monsters, we can’t help but to wonder what makes domesticated animals so different from others?

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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