A horrifying video footage shows about 700 felines crying in pain from being crammed in rusty cages found in a filthy backyard in Northern China. The cats were rescued in Linfen, Shanxi province.

An insider told MailOnline that many of the cats were stolen, and animal traffickers were planning to sell and deliver them to different restaurants to be slaughtered for their meat.

The previous Science Times report discussed the Yulin Festival, where dog meat eaters return full force for the said festival. Currently, two Chinese cities have already banned the consumption of cats and dogs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

700 Cats Successfully Rescued

The cats found in the rusty cages are now being looked after and will be re-homed soon, according to a local animal rescue group.

An animal lover, known by her surname Li has captured the horrific scene on camera yesterday and posted the footage online in a Chinese social media network. Ms. Li discovered the poor cats in the backyard of a budget hotel after some laborers who worked there alerted her.

She told the media that the cats had been brought in from different areas in the country and were waiting to be transported to restaurants.

She was shocked by the scene she saw in the backyard that Ms. Li can be heard in the footage saying: "Hundreds of cats here, hundreds. They are waiting to be served as food on the table. Help them."

Local rescue group, Linfen Small Animal Rescue immediately went to the scene on Thursday upon seeing the post of Ms. Li online.

According to the rescue group, all 700 or so cats had been rescued and will be looked after by their volunteers. Their spokesperson said: "We have moved pretty much all of them into pet cages. We are giving them water and food. Vets are checking if there are any injured or ill cats."

The organization released a clip showing Linfen police authorities arriving at the hotel shortly after the incident. They are now investigating the matter, according to local reports. Likewise, the news outlet has contacted the police for comments regarding the case.

Read also: Eating Pangolin Meat in China for Health and Sexual Benefits No More? Scales Pulled Out From Medicine List

China Has Stepped up Its Protection Laws for Animals

The news came as China has stepped up its laws to protect animals, particularly the wildlife, due to the coronavirus pandemic crisis.

Chinese experts said earlier this year that the coronavirus had likely jumped from the wild animals sold as food at a wet market in Wuhan onto the humans. The Chinese city is home to 11 million people in central China.

Then in February, the central government of China has blocked all trade and consumption of wildlife with a temporary law to address the current health crisis.

The cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai have banned the consumption of dog and cat meat in hopes that it will create a domino effect on other cities to end these brutal trades, which an estimated 10 million dogs and 4 million cats are killed every year. This is also in response to the global health crisis.

Last week, Chinese authorities leveled up the protection level from pangolins from class two to class one, which means that anyone found guilty of hunting and trading the said animal would face double the jail time.

Read More: China's Dog Meat Eaters Return Full Force For Yulin Festival: Appetite Persists Amid COVID-19 Pandemic