The Vietnamese police discovered about two thousand dead cats that were destined for traditional medicine, advanced this Friday, February 17, the country’s state press. The animals were found on Thursday at a slaughterhouse in Dong Thap province, in the Mekong delta, along with 480 other live cats, according to the official newspaper of that province, quoted by the France-Presse news agency (AFP).
The carcasses, a total of four tons, had been stored in a chamber, before being transformed into traditional medicine products through a long preparation process, the newspaper said.
Some Vietnamese believe that cat bones can help cure diseases such as asthma or osteoporosis.
The animal carcasses were meanwhile destroyed and the nearly 500 live cats subjected to health checks. The police have not yet arrested anyone responsible for the business.
The consumption of dogs and cats is legal in this Asian country, where many restaurants serve animals at the table. Those involved in the trade must be in possession of certificates attesting to the origin of the animals. In this specific case, the Dong Thap slaughterhouse did not present documents authorizing the slaughter.
According to the non-governmental organization Four Paws International, up to one million cats are traded in Vietnam annually. In Asia, traditional medicine also fuels the illegal trade in wild species, with Vietnam being both a center of consumption and transit.