Banner-wielding animal rights protesters swarmed into a restaurant on Lianhua Road in Buji Subdistrict in Shenzhen serving cat meat and forced it to shut down, Xinhua reported yesterday.
The 100 or so demonstrators, including women and children, held up banners reading "cats and dogs are friends of human beings" as they entered the Fangji Cat Meatball restaurant and demanded the owner free any live cats on the premises, Xinhua said.
There were none in the building as the owner had already moved them out, the report said. But some burst into tears upon finding a skinned cat in a fridge.
"I cannot go on with my business and I will not sell cat meat any more," the restaurant owner was quoted as saying, although he defended his trade by saying eating cat was a tradition in Guangdong Province.
The organizer of the protest, identified only as Isobel, the founder of a cat protection Web site, said the restaurant had been chosen because it killed cats in the street and it was "very bad for the students from nearby schools."
Gao Haiyun, Miss Shenzhen for the year 2005, also took part, calling on people to "stop eating cats and dogs and become civilized," Xinhua said.
In many parts of China, especially the southern regions, people have the tradition of eating cat meat. Previous reports said that in Guangzhou alone the residents eat 10,000 cats every day during the winter.