Two thousand cat carcasses stored in the cold room of a slaughterhouse in Dong Thap province, in the southern Mekong Delta. This is the sordid discovery made by Vietnamese police on Thursday, February 16, according to state media. Police also found 480 other cats alive, according to the province's official gazette. With a total volume of four tons, the carcasses were stored before being transformed into traditional medicine products through a long boiling process, according to the newspaper.
Some Vietnamese believe that extracts from cat bones can help treat diseases such as asthma and osteoporosis. The frozen carcasses have now been destroyed, while the rescued cats will undergo health checks.
The consumption of dogs and cats is still legal in Vietnam, and many restaurants in the country serve meat, but those involved in this trade must provide certificates attesting to the origin of the animals. The Dong Thap slaughterhouse did not produce documents authorizing the slaughter and detailing the traceability. No one has been arrested in this case so far.
According to the NGO Four Paws International, up to one million cats fall victim to this trade every year in Vietnam. In Asia, traditional medicine also fuels an illegal wildlife trade, and Vietnam is both a consumer and transit hub.