Over 10 tigers have been killed in a Chinese city for the purpose of entertaining officials and rich businessmen who consider the slaughterings “visual feasts” to show off their social status, according to the Associated Press.
The Nanfang Daily reports that police in Zhanjiang, Guangdong seized one of the slaughtered tigers and a number of tiger products during a raid this month, and that past video footage from similar killings showed one of the animals in an iron cage being prodded with electrified iron mass until it passed out.
Pig or cattle slaughterers are usually hired to butcher the tiger’s carcass, the bones and meat of which can be sold for 14,000 yuan per kilogram and 1,000 yuan per kilogram, respectively, according to the Daily. One butcher who jumped to his death during a raid had killed more than 10 such tigers, according to the report.
“The tigers were probably anesthetized for transport. But buyers would check them to make sure that they were alive before the killing,”
The meat and bones are bought by business owners who give them as gifts, as tiger bones are believed to have strengthening powers.
China is said to be the largest market for tiger products, according to WildAid, and wild tiger populations have been slashed from 100,000 at the turn of the 20th century to fewer than 3,200 remaining in the wild today across 13 countries—a 97 percent decline.
As disturbing cases of trafficking continue to surface across the mainland, China has cracked down on illegal trade of endangered animals. Under the country’s criminal law, people who traffic wild animals on the state’s key protection list can face a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail plus fines.