Do they eat kittens in the Ivory Coast, Africa?
Ivory Coast 1966-74 -- Photo by iJuliAn (Flickr)
This is a delicate question. I don't believe in political correctness. I do believe in politeness and being as accurate as possible. It is also important to separate fact from opinion.
I am referring to the Nobel laureate VS Naipaul's new book, "The Masque of Africa". Naipaul is a very smart and talented man. His new book has been criticized in the Times for being repulsive and racist. I don't agree with this criticism but I do find the subject matter of this post repulsive.
But I am not going to comment on the criticism but focus on the alleged eating of kittens in the Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire). I can believe that this happens as bushmeat is not uncommonly eaten in Africa. It is even eaten in London. Yes, primates are shipped in and eaten in Algerian restaurants as I recall. Although I will presume that it is not a common occurrence.
There is a tribe of Indians in India who kill and eat feral cats (no criticism of our Indian friends please note). This is an exception in India and rare.
The Chinese in the south also eat cat and dog meat. The cats are killed in a wholly cruel manner to improve the taste but I won't dwell on that.
However, it is with the greatest of sadness that I must report what Naipaul says in his book as it is news worthy, it is repulsive but it needs to be told, I feel.
He describes how he was told about "the best way of killing a cat or kitten" in the Ivory Coast. The kitten is placed in a sack. The sack is placed in boiling water. This is in preparation to eating it...I feel sick to the stomach.
Sometimes I feel that these stories cause me post traumatic stress disorder symptoms. And that is not an exaggeration. I can visualize this happening.
It doesn't stop there and there is an indication in the Times résumé of the book (22nd August 2010) that killing and eating companion animals, stray or otherwise, is commonplace in Africa.
In the north of Ghana it is said that they eat dog. It is called "red goat". In the south they eat cats. They had eaten so many cats that there were almost none left. This is what Naipaul reports back from his visits to Africa.
As I said, I find it completely wrong and repulsive. Many people in Africa and in the West including England and America, however, find it acceptable.
The argument is, "What is the difference between cat and duck or chicken etc?" The difference, for me, is that livestock is bred to eat and killed under strictly controlled conditions. Domestic cats and dogs are our companions. That is the deal. To kill them brutally and cruelly and eat them is positively not part of that deal. No sir.