Waistcoats made from cat fur are being openly sold at street markets in China for as little as £25, shocking footage has revealed.
The traditional markets, where a morbid array of products were found including illegal tiger claws, endangered antelope horns and puppies locked in tiny cages, are located in remote Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia.
Around a five-hour drive from Beijing, Hohhot is a world away from China’s skyscraper-dominated cities. Unlike in the rest of country, domesticated cats are extremely rare on the ground in Hohhot despite the proliferation of food waste and a large rodent population.
Footage from the local market suggests the reason why. An array of dozens of legally sold cat fur gilets are laid out on show.
They come in tortoiseshell, tabby, black and white and ginger styles and clearly resemble the pet cats people keep at home.
Feline friends turned into fur coats: Shocking images from remote Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia, in China, purportedly shows how domesticated cats are being killed and turned into jackets
Tabby, tortoiseshell or ginger? Fur from an array of cat breeds appears to be laid out for sale
A label next to the coats reportedly says: ‘Real cat fur, don't touch them if you don't want to buy.’
There are very few foreign tourists in Inner Mongolia, so for the ‘local price’ of £25 a cat waistcoat can be purchased openly - even at the airport if you want to buy a last minute gift.
Elisa Allen, Director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) UK, told MailOnline: 'Every year in China, countless cats – some still wearing collars – are abducted to be hanged, bled to death, or strangled with wire nooses so that their fur can be used for trim and trinkets, some of which are certainly exported to other countries.'
Lawmakers in Beijing this year enforced a total ivory ban which has seen promising results, but the country continues to spark outrage with its wildlife trade traditions. And Inner Mongolia is still a law unto itself when it comes to what is sold on its street markets, including pelts of fox, marmot, deer, tiger claws, and even bear heads.
Tiger claws for sale: Despite signing an international agreement banning the sale of tiger body parts, markets in China are still selling them for use in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Cruelty: Tigers are an endangered species but China is still, by far, the largest consumer of their body parts
Market produce: Stacks of wolf and fox pelts (left) were found for sale as well as ancient Chinese culinary traditions such as sheep head (right)
The same stalls are packed with brightly coloured traditional Mongolian children’s costumes and Fake Ugg boots, the footage filmed last month shows.
Close to the market stalls are 'pet shops' with their wares spilling out onto the pavement displaying agitated puppies in tiny cages, sometimes six at a time, standing on top of each other and barking for the attention of potential buyers to escape from their plight.
Some are forced to be paraded on metal grills which, unstable on their paws, they fall through as faeces collect in a tray below. The stench is overpowering.
Dogs are also killed for their fur and leather in China, the world's largest fur exporter.
Responding to the footage of the cat fur gilets for sale, Ms Allen said: 'PETA Asia uncovered a similarly grisly dog-leather market in China, where dogs are bludgeoned to death with sticks and their skin is turned into gloves, which are purposely mislabelled and shipped to Europe and the US.
'PETA advises anyone who is distressed by these photos – or by the thought of wearing the skin of a dog or cat – to leave all fur and leather items on the rack.
Trapped: Tiny puppies yelped from cramped cages outside the shops in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia
Tradition: Hohhot is just a five-hour drive from Beijing but clings to its very different way of life and culture