Police recently revealed that over 10 tigers have been tortured and killed in China in order to entertain wealthy businessmen and government officials. The tigers were killed in so-called “visual feasts” meant to show the social stature of the people watching. Police found a freshly slaughtered tiger, and evidence of other slaughtered tigers, in a raid this month. Video footage discovered shows a caged tiger being slowly electrified before a butcher came to dissect the animal.
The slaughter was used as an “eye-opener” in spectacles to entertain, but after the animal was dead, the bones and meat were sold. Tiger meat is highly coveted and may have been purchased by business owners who would give the meat as gifts to officials. The bones of tigers have been used in Chinese medicine for a long time because they are believed to strengthen the body. Like rhino horn, there is a demand in China for such ingredients for medicines.
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During the raid, a butcher who was likely responsible for slaughtering at least 10 tigers jumped to his death to escape police. A source told the police that the tigers were drugged during transport to keep them docile, but they were checked to make sure that they were alive before the show and subsequent slaughter took place.
Just a century ago, there were at least 100,000 tigers, but today there are only about 3,000 left. The IUCN lists the tiger as endangered after populations plummeted due to illegal hunting and trade, as well as loss of habitat.
Via The Guardian
Lead image via Linda Tanner, image via S Baker