“Mystery Box” Trend in China That Involves Sending Live Pets Through Postal Services Anger Netizens

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Mystery boxes may enjoy a rather stellar reputation in the likes of online games and other miscellaneous sectors, but the fact remains that there’s a reason why they usually only carry inanimate objects.

Simply put, the conditions aren’t exactly ideal for living creatures.

After all, there’s only so much a living being can take before succumbing to suffocation or hunger during transit.

And the following piece of news is a pure exemplification of that very, very inhumane action.

“Mystery Box” Trend in China That Involves Sending Live Pets Through Postal Services Anger Netizens

According to Mothershipthere’s a new “mystery box” trend in China that reportedly comes with dire consequences.

Apparently, live animals are sent via courier as “surprise presents”.

Due to the harsh conditions, however, some are unable to survive the journey.

According to the news report, such practices are prevalent on e-commerce platforms like Taobao and agricultural tech platform Pinduoduo.

Animals are sold for ludicrously low prices, despite the high desirability of certain breeds.

For instance, pedigree animals such as Ragdoll cats and Akita dogs could retail for as low as RMB 9.90 (S$2.04) or RMB 19.90 (S$4.10) respectively. A “teacup” Chihuahua puppy could also go for just RMB 100 (S$20.69).

But here, regular breeds are usually just disguised as more “prestigious” ones.

Apparently, many buyers order these boxes to film unboxing videos, but by arrival, most of the critters were already dead due to either suffocation, hunger, or extreme temperatures.

Even if one survived, it’s often incapable of living long. In fact, a Chinese food blogger called “Snack Girl” said in a Weibo post that these animals were dubbed “Week Dog/Cat” since they wouldn’t even live a week after unboxing.

“Week Dog” (星期狗) refers to those cute dogs that roadside sellers peddle; these dogs will then start to experience health problems within seven days of purchase.

In one particular case, a puppy died just two days after emerging from its parcel.

“I received the puppy on the 16th,” a review read.


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“It did not eat or drink upon arriving home and kept sleeping. It started to have diarrhoea on the 17th, there was blood in its stools on the 18th and it died at noon. Pretty sure it’s a heartless seller who sent me a sick dog.”

Image: Weibo (零食少女)

And another buyer concurred.

“It (a female kitten) vomited upon arriving home and had diarrhoea,” they said. “It died before the five-day mark.

“My girl is still crying, do you sellers have a heart? The cat was vomiting upon arrival while having diarrhoea.”

Netizens have since expressed outrage over the trend, with an overwhelming number demanding for the practice to cease.

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Some have also stated that it was a potential threat to public health.

China’s Postal Law

According to China’s postal law, living animals are evidently not permitted to be delivered through postal services.

This, however, has not deterred unscrupulous sellers, with numerous listings traceable from as far back as 2019 or even earlier.


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On 3 May 2021 alone, around 100 to 200 puppies and 30 to 40 kittens were rescued from mystery boxes, which had been stuffed into a container.

Image: Weibo (新浪辽宁)

And in late 2020, 5,000 rabbits, hamsters, cats & dogs were found dead in shipping packages in Henan, China.

Foreign media outlets have also since picked up on the inhumane practice, with The Sun calling it a “chilling craze”.

Feature Image: Weibo (新浪辽宁 / 零食少女)


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