Thousands of animals were found dead after an accident at a marine depot in China this week, according to CBS News.
The incident may have been the result of poor communication in the supply chain within the country’s black market livestock sector. Local authorities said they were investigating the incident, which took place in Henan province.
“The station was cluttered with express crates with thousands of animals that were already dead, and the whole place smells of rotting bodies,” sister Hua, founder of a Utopia animal rescue group, told CBS. “It was like a living hell.”
Hua said the animals were likely to die of suffocation or starvation after being left in their crates for several days.
“Poor communication within the shipping company and inconsistency in the implementation of maritime regulations led directly to the tragedy,”
Local volunteers were able to rescue a few hundred animals from the depot, but more than 5,000 animals are presumed to have died.
Chinese law prohibits large-scale shipping of animals in normal packaging, CBS reported.