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December 21, 2010

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Fury at sale of cat and dog-skin products

ONLINE sales of products made from the skins of cats and dogs have caused outrage, with, China's biggest e-commerce platform, the target of animal lovers'fury.

More than 6,600 products are being advertised on the website, from cushions and boots to waistcoats.

An online campaign is calling for Taobao to take action against the sellers, and it has received support on several of China's leading social networking websites, such as sina's microblog, and

"How can they make ads on such products?" said a campaign supporter, Mo Ji. "They will receive retribution because they have harmed so many innocent lives."

However, cat and dog products don't seem to be proving too popular with buyers with many stores recording no trades.

One seller, who called himself "sjz2ys," from Hebei Province, said all the cat-skin products were authentic, but he only sold one waistcoat during the past month. Other sellers said their stock came from finished product wholesalers, and they didn't know where the skin came from.

The China Small Animal Protection Association said cat dealers caught stray cats from neighborhood communities and peeled off their skins.

"Usually cat meat will be transported to Guangdong Province to be eaten in restaurants, while the skin will go to fur dealers in Shandong Province," said Zhai Yining, an association official.

Taobao said that sellers selling cat or dog products would be punished by "score deduction." Under the rules, once a negative score adds up to 48, a store would be closed., Taobao's operator, said the website will strengthen the inspection of product keywords and delete items relating to cat or dog products.

An official with the company said that sometimes the speed of inspection was not able to catch up with that of sellers publishing product details, which had led to the present situation.

The animal association said the problem was hard to solve because of the lack of adequate laws. "We have volunteers to protect the animals, but their efforts are not enough as the government's supervision is inadequate," Zhai said.

She said if a draft law on small animal protection was implemented, cats and dogs' living environment would change for the better.

This is the second time has become involved in a small animal maltreatment scandal.

Last week the International Fund for Animal Welfare persuaded it to ban the selling of poisons to kill dogs and the equipment used to catch them.


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