After endangering countless lives with the Wuhan Coronavirus, China is back in the news for a bizarre new craze of blind boxes. Animals are being sent to buyers via mystery parcels (referred to as blind boxes) through courier service. The new phenomenon has sparked off a global debate over the abuse and the ill-treatment of animals in the Communist-run country.
On Monday, around 160 cats and dogs were found in a distressed condition inside the truck of a courier company named ZTO in Chengdu in Sichuan in Western China. The vehicle was intercepted by an animal rescue group named Chengdu Aizhijia Animal Rescue Centre. All the animals in the truck were below the age of 3 months. Four of them were found dead while several others were infected with viruses.
In a video posted by Reuters, puppies and kittens were seen caged in parcels in a warehouse, disguised as regular packages. The volunteers associated with Chengdu Aizhijia Animal Rescue Centre stayed at the warehouse the whole night and fed the animals. The puppies and kittens were also inspected by health officials. On Thursday, the group informed that all animals except 38 were brought back to the Centre for resettlement. The remaining 38 animals had been receiving medical attention.
Around 160 puppies and kittens were rescued from a warehouse that was illegally shipping them as so-called ‘blind box’ gifts, disguised as regular mail, according to Chinese media https://t.co/NU8tk9Ed6f pic.twitter.com/1p2e90kC0q— Reuters (@Reuters) May 6, 2021
Courier company tenders apology for illegal transportation of live animals
Reportedly, the blind boxes were to be shipped to various locations in China including Shenzhen, which is located about 1700 km away. Following the controversy, the courier company suspended the delivery executive and deducted his annual performance bonus. It must be mentioned that transporting live animals is prohibited in the country. The courier company has conceded that it has violated the postal regulations of China and tendered its apology. It has also initiated staff training to ensure postal safety and animal protection.
Chinese State-owned media condemns the phenomenon of blind boxes
Despite this, blind boxes containing rats, tortoises, and lizards are up for sale on websites such as Taobao. Meanwhile, State-owned media Xinhua described the ‘mystery parcels’ aka blind boxes as ‘desecration of life’. It has called upon courier companies for self-correction and strengthening self-examination. Xinhua has urged buyers and sellers to showcase goodwill and respect for life.