A Chinese company in Shanghai was criticized recently by Chinese netizens for abusing animals by putting cats and dogs in a machine offering lucky draws to customers at a downtown shopping mall.
Video clips circulating online show that some cats and dogs were placed in the narrow boxes in the machine. By playing games on the machine and earning points, winners can get a pet, the illustration on the machine indicated.
Some netizens said on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo that the space in the box was so small that the animals could only lie down and sleep.
The first prize is a cat or a dog, the second prize a chinchilla, the third a fish and the fourth a plant, it said.
The machine has been removed after the criticism on social media. The company apologized for the incident in an announcement it released on Weibo on Wednesday and said it decided to suspend the project.
However, it noted that the project was for charity purposes to find adoption for stray pets.
No pets died in the machine from October 30 to Wednesday, during which the machine was in the shopping mall, the company said. The cats and dogs looked listless because of the inefficient ventilation system of the machine.
The company said its staff provided the animals with water and food cleaned their feces on a regular basis, and they had dedicated veterinarians on duty to ensure the health of the cats and dogs.
Many Chinese netizens criticized the company for abusing animals and questioned whether it was taking advantage of the animals to attract attention. Some worried that such “adoption” methods would cause sanitation problems.
“Stray animals do not need to find a home in this way. Rescuers who seek people to adopt animals usually check the adopter under strict conditions. What a stupid idea it is to use a lucky draw to send them away,” a netizen commented on Weibo.
“We are angry that you are not respecting lives by doing this. Moreover, such a lucky draw only aggregates the problem of people giving up their pets out of impulse,” another said.
“If you really love pets, you won’t be so careless. If you want to obtain attention and make money, you can do it another way. Please don’t use living animals to make money,” another netizen commented.