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Animal welfare group 'gases cats to death'

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11:19 CET+01:00
The Gothenburg branch of animal welfare organisation Djurens Vänner has been accused of gassing hundreds of cats to death every year. Following years of speculation, the chairman of the Gothenburg office has now been caught on tape admitting to the illegal practice, newspaper GT reports.

Djurens Vänner (Friends of the animals) is a private organisation to which many people turn when they are no longer willing or able to take care of their pets. Cats make up the overwhelming majority of the animals taken in by the group.

But rather than finding homes for the cats, the Gothenburg branch has privately admitted to killing 90 percent of them, according to GT's sources.

Animal welfare authorities have previously received complaints about the branch but chairman Berndt Ekelund has repeatedly denied the charges.

But when freelance journalist Lena Forselius spoke to Ekelund he revealed all, unaware the she was recording their conversation.

"He told me that they take in around a thousand cats per year, 90 percent of which they put down. He also told me that they use a substance called halothane and showed me an empty bottle," Forselius told GT.

She also asked the chairman if the public was aware of what happened to the cats when they were taken in to Djurens Vänner in Gothenburg.

"We don't say how many cats we put down because we would end up in a conflict with the authorities," said Ekelund.

Åke Röljander, chairman of the nearby branch of Djurens Vänner in Borås, is critical of the Gothenburg branch.

"There are people who travel to Borås to leave in their cats because they know about the situation in Gothenburg. It's a veritable execution centre there.

"While it is not possible to find homes for every single cat it is important that we try to help the animals as much as possible.

"It's a shame about Gothenburg because it gives Djurens Vänner a bad reputation," said Röljander.

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