Banner-wielding animal rights protesters swarmed into a restaurant serving cat meat in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen and forced it to shut
The 40 or so, mainly female demonstrators -- holding banners reading "cats and dogs are friends of human beings" -- 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, it 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, though he defended his trade by saying eating cat in Guangdong province was a tradition.
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."
A local beauty queen, Miss Shenzhen 2005, also took part, calling on people to "stop eating cats and dogs and become civilized," Xinhua said.
Many Chinese, particularly in the south, believe eating dogs and cats are good warming foods to eat during the winter.
But China is developing a nascent animal rights movement as more people raise pets, which during the country's Communist heyday was frowned upon as a bourgeois activity.
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Cat activists storm Chinese restaurant