Two beggars were photographed kneeling in front of the skinny camel, holding it by the reins as it crawled along the road in Foshan, Guangdong province. The microblogger who originally uploaded the photos said the “camel’s limbs are maimed” and suggested the injuries were sustained in a deliberate act by the beggars.
The posting quickly went viral on China’s biggest social networking site with many posters condemning the beggars’ alleged cruelty and others expressing sympathy for the animal.
Nuerjiang Maidier, an associate professor from Xinjiang Agricultural University, who studies camel rearing, said the lower parts of the camel’s four limbs had been cut off. “The operations it seems were carried out by a veterinarian,” Nuerjiang said after viewing the photos. “This is so brutal,” he said.
The two men in the latest incident were reported begging on a street in Fuzhou, Fujian province, around six months ago. News reports at that time cited local police as saying the camel’s hooves were missing and suspected it was a result of amputation.
Though wild camels are listed as one of China’s first-class nationally protected animals, those belonging to beggars are often identified as domestic camels, thus they are not protected by law. China’s animal protection laws only cover wild animals that are considered endangered species, or animals of scientific use.