An estimated 1,000 cats on their way to slaughterhouses to be killed and reportedly sold as “pork” and “mutton” have instead been rescued by police in China, following dedicated vigilance from on-the-ground activists.

The local activists suspected something was wrong after noticing several nailed wooden boxes carrying cats being lifted into a truck, which then proceeded to transport the felines to a slaughterhouse, according to CNN. The activists reported the suspicious activity to officers in Zhangjiagang who stopped the truck en route.

The officers compassionately confiscated the cats and sent them to a nearby shelter, where they are recovering, according to Metro UK.

A report about the situation published in the state-affiliated outlet The Paper sparked outrage on Chinese social media, with people calling for greater scrutiny by authorities.

While these cats were saved, and the local outrage shows that attitudes in China are changing toward how these precious animals should be treated, sadly the cat and dog meat trade is still rampant throughout the world. We applaud the incredible rescue of these 1,000 cats in China, but we must not forget the millions of other dogs and cats destined for this cruel fate.

An estimated 10 million dogs and 4 million cats are killed for their meat every year in China, and those responsible for this horrific trade must be held accountable.

To speak up for cats and dogs worldwide who are killed for their “meat,” we encourage you to sign our petition here.

SIGN: Stop the Horrific Yulin Dog Meat Festival and End China’s Dog and Cat Meat Trade