In India you might happen upon a meal called cat biryani. In the UK you can buy many prepared meals from supermarkets such as chicken biryani designed for human consumption. I had never heard of cat biryani until now. I learned about it from a story in The Times of India which reports that three men have been arrested after they were found trapping stray cats in an apartment block. A local rescue organisation, Blue Cross, were notified by one of the residents. The cats were being trapped illegally. The four-man gang of cat trappers were very skilled and they were putting the cats into five gunny bags. Gunny bags are large, coarse jute or hemp bags that can be tied at the top.
The cats were rescued suffering from shock and one was in a critical condition. A complaint was filed with the local police and three of the men have been arrested and charged with cruelty to animals.
There is no doubt in my mind having researched the matter that the men were “harvesting” stray cats to be used as cat meat. Some members of the narikurava community like to eat cat meat. It appears to be presented as cat biryani which is being sold by some people not too far from the apartment block in various parts of the city, Tondiarpet.
In a separate report on the same news media website, spicy roasted mutton pieces being sold at a roadside eatery were in fact cat meat. There appears to be in a spurt in the demand for cat meat in Chennai, the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Tondiarpet is a neighbourhood of Chennai city.
We can readily see the connection. Other than illegally trapping cats in apartment blocks, gypsies target cats near railway stations and bus depots where it is easy to escape. The cats are caught in nets, drugged and stuffed into gunny bags.
In addition to the fact that stray cats are free and can be harvested without cost other than the labour involved in doing it, some people in India believe that cat meat is an aphrodisiac and has other medicinal benefits. In fact, quacks prescribe cat meat for a variety of illnesses such as impotency, arthritis and asthma.
The same mentality is met in China, particularly in the south as I understand it. There far too many people for my liking who think that cat meat has medicinal properties. This is ridiculous. It is an expression of total ignorance. And sadly the innocent cat is the victim.
There are three things that need to be done to stop this. Firstly, people need to be educated about the immorality in rounding up stray cats and killing them for cat meet and secondly they need to be educated to rectify the misplaced belief that cat meat is good for one’s health. The third thing is that there needs to be a high level of responsibility with respect to cat ownership, which is a very typical problem the world over including in the UK and the USA or any other country for that matter. If there are too many stray cats wandering around the street then it is very tempting for poor people to capture them and kill them as a source of meat and nutrition.
It is difficult to criticise people who kill stray cats for nutrition in poor countries under sometimes dire circumstances. I hate to see it but humans are not doing a very good job of making progress towards a more civilised attitude with respect to their interaction with animals. Prosperity leads to better education. India also needs to be more widely prosperous.
Associated: Some Indians eat cat meat (an early post) – I was criticised by some Indians for writing this. God knows why.