According to reports, the company, which is believed to be Macro-Union Pharmaceutical located outside Beijing, had intentionally strung the cats up to some kind of clothesline to dry in order to eventually use their carcasses for "anti-allergy research."
The six dead cats, which can be seen in the shocking image below by EuroPics, were all strung up to dry in the natural sunlight in accordance with what the company says is standard research protocol.
As you'll notice, their bodies are sort of haphazardly strewn about outside of what appears to be a rather dated research facility, resembling more of a gruesome case of animal abuse than legitimate medical research.
"It is dehumanizing to hang dead cats in public in such manner," wrote one anonymous web poster in condemnation of the scene.
Drug companies abuse animals all the time, says animal rights activistFollowing the public release of the photo, the pharmaceutical company responsible issued a public statement in defense of the dead cats, which it says must be dried in order to extract hair and skin cell samples for allergy testing. The felines were also purchased from a supplier who sells them for "scientific purposes," claims the company, rather than collected as strays and killed.
"We understand the sympathy from pet lovers, but this is not animal abuse," stated a spokesman.
Nevertheless, animal rights activists, including Qing Xiaona from Beijing's Animal Welfare Association, aren't convinced. They told the media that this type of animal abuse is endemic within the pharmaceutical industry and that alternatives to such horrors need to be investigated to put a stop to the drug industry's culture of animal cruelty.
"Because there is no law in China to protect animal welfare, we can only condemn such conduct on a moral level," she stated, adding that the company's throwing in of "scientific research" as good measure is not a valid excuse for abusing animals in this manner.
Many American drug companies now produce, test drugs overseas in places like India and ChinaIf you think heinous animal abuse incidents like this are exclusive to places like China, you're wrong. Although Western pharmaceutical companies are better at hiding their animal testing practices - you won't typically find dead cats literally hanging up to dry outside of Merck & Co.'s headquarters - such abuse is still taking place behind closed doors.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) compiled a list of the top 12 worst CEOs for animal abuse in laboratories, and several of them are from drug companies such as Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Pfizer. Moreover, many American drug companies conduct both animal and human drug and vaccine testing overseas and manufacture drugs in places like India and China, where cats are hung up to dry.
According to 2008 data, as many as 80 percent of new drug applications submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval contain data compiled from foreign clinical trials. Many of these trials are conducted in developing countries among poorer populations that are less skeptical and more willing to act as human guinea pigs for multinational corporations.
"The only people who seem to care about the surge of clinical trials in foreign countries are the medical ethicists -- not historically a powerhouse when it comes to battling the drug companies," explains a report published by Vanity Fair back in 2011 entitled "Deadly Medicine", which notes that upwards of 200,000 Americans die every single year due to prescription drug use.