From BBC News online.
A court has fined the Dutch airline KLM after it shredded 440 Chinese ground squirrels which lacked proper health papers.
The court accepted that staff at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport had no choice but to kill the animals, because of uncertainty about their condition.
But it criticised the airline for allowing the animals to start their journey from Beijing in the first place, and for keeping them in cramped cages without food or water before they were killed.
KLM was fined NLG35,000 ($14,300), with NLG15,000 of the fine to be paid to the National Association for Animal Protection.
The squirrels were being flown from China to fur dealers in Greece in April 1999.
But when the animals reached Amsterdam, they were in limbo.
As they had incorrect European health and import documents, they could neither be flown on to Greece, nor back to China.
KLM admitted that international guidelines on packing animals had not been followed, and said they had changed their agent in Beijing since the incident.
The court said that the shredding of the squirrels, which caused an outcry at the time, was indeed shocking, but no more painful than any other method of killing the animals.
KLM says it has now improved its quarantine facilities, and in any case no longer transports Chinese ground squirrels.
"I share the fierce emotions which people had when they heard about it... it sent shivers down your spine," said KLM spokesman Hugo Bass.
"This is a dark chapter in our history and I hope it will never happen again," he added.
Finally, these Squirrels can get a nice sleep forever...