Rome, August 5 - An environmental and animal rights organization said on Monday that over the span of one year a literal massacre of black cats in Italy for esoteric rituals and for their fur left thousands of animals dead. According to the Italian Association for the Defense of Animals and the Environment (AIDAA), 35,000 felines were killed in 2012. "Black cats were bred, kidnapped and killed to use their easily treatable fur for illegal jackets and glove linings," AIDAA said. "Frequently these animals are caught directly in colonies, especially those that are located near cemeteries where they are often sacrificed in esoteric rites and improvised black masses," the organization said. "Approximately 5,000-6,000 black felines were used for bizarre rituals, especially during the full moon and Halloween, by the over 800 Satanist groups existing in our country," AIDAA said. There are approximately 600,000 Satanist followers according to the Italia dall'Estero website, of which over half habitually use animal sacrifice, in particular black cats. "Daily appeals are published daily for shelter volunteers to meticulously verify anyone who comes asking specifically for a black kitten for adoption. This phenomenon, underestimated in general, is considered a real threat by volunteer workers at shelters," Lorenzo Croce, national president for AIDAA said. The eighth edition of National Black Cat day organized by the group will be held on Sunday November 17 in the city of Turin and at Lake Bracciano near Rome, two areas with a high number of Satanic followers, AIDAA said.