Some 150 cats have been found left for dead in the desert in the United Arab Emirates, the animal rights group PETA said on Friday.
Activists in the oil-rich Gulf state said dozens of the cats had died, while some were rescued alive.
PETA called on the UAE to act in the face of this “act of cruelty”.
“PETA Asia is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever dumped these cats in the desert to die horribly of thirst, starvation, and from the unrelenting heat,” Jason Baker, the group’s senior vice president, told AFP.
Emirati authorities announced on Thursday that they had opened an “investigation into the incident of abandoned cats” in the Abu Dhabi desert.
However, they did not specify when these cats were left or how many of them were involved.
All “administrative and legal measures” would be used against the perpetrators of this “inhumane” act, the authorities said.
Photos and videos showing cats buried in sand or barely able to stand have been shared on social media. AFP was unable to immediately verify their authenticity.
“This act of cruelty must not be swept under the rug like so many others,” said Baker, accusing the UAE of “lagging behind other countries” in animal protection, despite the adoption of a new law in 2007.
The solution to the problem of stray animals “crisis is spaying and neutering and adopting from overworked and understaffed shelters, which PETA Asia has been asking the UAE to require for years”, he said.