NEWS AND COMMENT-SUMATRA: The cat’s name was Tayo. The name means “he who brings joy”. A Sumatran man living in Medan, Sumatra was known to eat domestic cats and he was also known to sell cat meat. His name is Rafeles Simanjuntak. Sonia Rizkika lived with Tayo. She adopted him from a rescue center. He brought her happiness. One day he went missing. I have seen him on Sonia’s Instagram page. He was a charming cat. She loved him.
She used her Instagram webpages to tell her story of how her cat had gone missing. She said that she had been looking for him for two days. She recounted that her search led her to the home of Rafeles Simanjuntak, I guess because he was a known cat eater and vendor. She found the remains of Tayo in his home. Among the remains of him and other cats was his head and innards. I have seen the photos and they are excruciating to see. Don’t go there.
She took Tayo’s remains to the police asking for justice but they laughed at her. They did not believe that a crime had been committed. Her story attracted sympathy and the condemnation of law enforcement. This appears to have encouraged the police to take action which led, apparently, to Simanjuntak’s arrest.
He was tried and convicted of theft but not animal cruelty. It appears that slaughtering domestic cats for their meat is barely seen as a crime in Sumatra but the theft of cats is. Although Sumatra has animal welfare laws so the perpetrator could have been convicted for animal cruelty. The prosecutors chose theft because Sumatran law provides a harsher punishment for theft.
The maximum punishment for theft is five years in prison whereas it is nine months in prison for animal abuse.
As a consequence, the criminal was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison. Animal rights activists want the law changed to stiffen the penalties for animal cruelty in Sumatra. Existing laws were drafted during the Dutch colonial era. Times have moved on.
I suspect that many cases of animal abuse in Sumatra go unpunished and if they are punished the punishments are unduly light.
It is an incredibly sad story as it tells me that other domestic cats have been killed by this man and other people for their meat. A Westerner cannot say that it is immoral to kill domestic cats for their meat because when you do that you get criticised for not understanding Asian culture.
I think you can criticise Asians for killing domestic cats to eat them for two reasons. The first is that they are a person’s companion. They are not livestock. There is an emotional connection which is dramatically broken when they are killed, illegally.
And often the killing is brutal and painful. And that’s the second point. When livestock is killed it should be done under strict regulations to eliminate or minimise pain and suffering but when domestic cats are killed for their meat, they are nearly always killed informally and brutally without the protection of formal countrywide regulations.
Cat meat is sold underhand and law enforcement lets it happen. It is a cultural issue.
Source: Coconuts Jakarta.
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