HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnamese authorities have buried thousands of cats, many apparently still alive, that were seized after being smuggled in a truck from China for restaurants, a police officer said Wednesday.
Cat meat is easily available in some restaurants in Vietnam, especially in the north near the Chinese border, even though the government in 1998 ordered such restaurants closed and banned the trade of cats because they are a predator to rats, which destroy crops.
The cats that were buried were dealt with in accordance with the law because they posed an environmental and health risk, said the police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. He confirmed that live cats were buried but was uncertain how many.
Police last week had stopped the truck carrying 3 tons of cats in cramped bamboo baskets. The truck driver, to whom the cargo belonged, was fined 7.5 million dong ($360) for smuggling the animals.
Animal rights advocates had sought to stop the cats from being killed.