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The RSPCA is shocked and appalled at the use of live dogs and cats as bait in shark fishing, reported recently on the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean.
It is understood that stray animals are rounded up by local fishermen for the purpose.
RSPCA International senior programme manager Paul Littlefair says: "This is one of the most disturbing practices that we've come across. The use of a live animal in this way, apparently involving the binding of its legs with wire and piercing of the muzzle with large hooks, is unjustifiably cruel.
"Given Réunion's status as a French overseas département, we strongly urge the French government to take immediate steps to enforce its animal protection legislation and end this inhumane practice. Members of the public should address their concerns to the French embassy to help bring this cruelty to an immediate halt."