“The entire place reeks of rotting bodies,” said Sister Hua, the founder of animal rescue group Utopia.
Hua was describing the nightmare discovered at the Dongxing Logistics station in Henan’s Luohe city in Central China, where at least 5,000 adoptable pets were recently found dead
“The station was cluttered with express boxes with thousands of animals that had already died,” Hua told CBS. “It was like a living hell.”
Cats and dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs were found either dead or close to it as investigators looked through the boxes. Only a few hundred of the animals were saved.
Hua and her volunteers rescued 200 rabbits and 50 dogs and cats from the facility, some which were later adopted on-site, but thousands more were taken by officers to be disinfected and buried.
“It was obvious they died of suffocation, dehydration and starvation,” Hua said.
Shortly after this incident, Hua heard of another shipment of animals in Dameng. She and her volunteers saved about 1,000 more animals over the course of 13 hours, while an equal amount died.
Hua believes the animals were left at the facilities as a result of a miscommunication. Chinese import and export law requires animals be shipped in special packaging with the necessary permits. The animals in each shipment were stored in plastic and metal cages stuffed into cardboard boxes, CBS reports. It’s possible that the logistics company refused to take further action after finding this shipment did not meet standards.
“Miscommunication inside the shipping company and the inconsistency of the implementation of shipping regulations directly led to the tragedy,” Hua said. “Of course, both buyers and sellers bear the responsibility, too.”
Hua told CBS News that both incidents posed unacceptable threats to animal welfare and human public health.
“Given the COVID-19 pandemic we are facing, it’s so terrifying to have those live animals transported that way, and even ending up dead,” Hua said.
“Go for adoption instead of illegal buying and shipping of animals,” she said.
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