The incident came to light courtesy of a Chinese supermodel, Ju Xiaowen, who uploaded the video for her three million followers on Weibo, China's alternative to Twitter.
Trigger Warning: This story may contain details of animal abuse readers may find disturbing.
China is infamous for its abysmal treatment of animals as evidenced by the wet markets and the Yulin Dog Meat Festival that occurs annually. In a new story, footage of kittens and puppies being forced into tiny cages of a game machine at a Shanghai shopping complex has become the subject of a massive public outrage in the country. In the viral video, the puppies and kittens are trapped inside a cramped coin-operated machine that offers people the chance to win them as prizes, reports Daily Mail.
Kittens and puppies are forced to live in a game machine so passersby can win them as prizes in a Chinese mall https://t.co/iJHmt2auSZ— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) November 6, 2020
After the video went viral, the company which owned and operated the machine was forced to issue an apology and shut down the facility altogether due to backlash on social media. The incident came to light courtesy of the work of a Chinese supermodel, Ju Xiaowen, who uploaded the video for her three million followers on Weibo, China's alternative to Twitter. The video of the game machine was taken at the Longemont Shopping Mall in Shanghai. In the short clip, we can see that one of the cages had three little kittens inside with very little room for them to move or even stand up comfortably. Instructions for the game stuck on the machine told people that they could win the live animals as "top prizes" if they completed missions on the console.
Don’t know why anyone is surprised by this, there is total lack of any empathy towards animals in that country, they are just products of either food or entertainment, nothing else.— Justine Ive (@kaikouramonkey) November 6, 2020
In a short span of time, the 17-second clip gathered over 1.2 million views, and several animal welfare organizations, as well as people, slammed the company's inhuman practices. One of the viewers reportedly commented on the post and wrote: "Oh my god, putting live animals in the machine like that is so dangerous. Is this company out of their mind?" Another added: "Outrageous. Businesses would do anything to make a profit." The incident has sprung PETA into action, which has urged Chinese authorities to step in and investigate the matter. In a statement to the outlet, the animal rights group said: "Animals aren't disposable toys. It's not a harmless arcade game but rather a matter of life and death."
PETA also highlighted that this is common practice in most parts of China and said: "Live animals – including lobsters, turtles, and crabs – are commonly sold in claw machines across China. They can easily be hurt by being repeatedly dropped, and some have been left to endure a painful death from dehydration or starvation." After the mounting criticism, Yi Chong Yi Wu, the company that owned the machine was forced to remove the machine from the mall on Wednesday and even issued an apology online which stated that no animals were harmed during the process. The statement also claimed that the game machine was brought into the mall last Friday as part of a Halloween event and that the animals were fed by staff members who also cleaned the cages multiple times a day.
Their idea of a snack vending machine— Paul Knows (@Paulknows) November 6, 2020
The kittens and pups were later taken out of the machine and vets arrived at the location in the evening to check how they were doing. The firm also added that the animal looked weak and tired in the video because of "bad ventilation of the machine." The statement read: "We have sincerely understood the suggestions raised by netizens. At the same time, we decided to shut down the project for rectification. The machine will not be placed in crowded places such as malls before a new plan is released. Meanwhile, we will improve the problems of the machine and the interactive process." As many as 14 pets were placed on the machine, and the company said they will be putting them up for public adoption.
The behaviour of this country gets more unacceptable by the day. Isn't there anything anyone can do to stop this!!!— Maria (@Maria56816796) November 6, 2020