Calls to put an end to an increasingly popular "blind box" craze in China have grown louder after the deaths of several small animals.
Blind boxes can be ordered online and sent via the post, with their species only becoming known to their recipient when they arrive at their destination, the BBC reported.
Uproar peaked this week after a courier company's truck was intercepted in Chengdu, the capital of southwestern Sichuan province, on Monday (local time).
Animal rescue group Chengdu Aizhijia Animal Rescue Centre discovered 160 distressed cats and dogs on the truck — all were younger than three months and some had died, according to the publication.
"The cargo box is full of screams from cats and puppies," the group wrote in a post to Weibo.
Volunteers tended to the animals and delivered them safely to the rescue group's base, according to the BBC.
Truck driver 'loses annual bonus'
All underwent health inspections, with 38 requiring further medical attention.
The driver of the courier truck reportedly lost his annual bonus as a result of the incident, which he has since apologised for, People's Daily Online reported.
Despite the transportation of live animals being illegal in China, suppliers have somehow discovered loopholes to ensure increasing demand is met.
Both domestic and exotic animals are reportedly for sale on online shopping websites like Taobao and Pinduoduo, and can be purchased from between A$2.40 and A$200, Xinhuanet reported.
According to the site, some sellers do not accept special requests, returns or negative online reviews.
On Taobao, consumers can reportedly select a "tortoise blind box" or "hamster blind box", and be surprised by the colour, size or particular breed when it arrives.
The publication said sellers would decide which animal to send based on how much the consumer was willing to spend.
On Pinduoduo, they can choose a blind box that could contain a cat, dog, bird, rat, scorpion, spider or lizard, among other animals.
Most blind boxes are delivered via express delivery, according to the publication, meaning consumers who live reasonably close to the supplier, could receive their animal the day after ordering it.
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