- Mar 3, 2014
Cat meat being sold as mutton in roadside eateries
Cat meat being sold as mutton in roadside eateries - The Times of IndiaCHENNAI: Meat lovers beware - the succulent lamb chops or spicy roasted mutton pieces at a road side eatery might be prepared from cat meat.
"In the last few months, there has been a spurt in the demand of cat meat," says G Arun Prasanna of People for Cattle in India (PFCI). Volunteers have rescued around 40 stolen cats—meant to be slaughtered for meat—from gypsy colonies at Pallavaram, Avadi, Ayanavaram, and Red hills in the last six months. The largest haul (20) was from Red Hills, followed by Pallavaram (14). Recently, a large number of carcasses and cat skins were recovered at Kotturpuram gypsy colony. "A total of seven police complaints have been registered so far," said a police officer.
A large polythene bag of cat meat weighing anything between two to three kg costs around 100. It is supplied to small vendors and biriyani stalls across the city. They are then sold to unsuspecting customers as mutton preparations. Similar is the case with the vendors selling 'side dishes' near Tasmac outlets in Red Hills, Pallavaram, Avadi , according to Prasanna
"The mutton 65 prepared from cat meat was a hit among tipplers," said Ramesh Kerketta (name changed) from Jharkhand, a former teenage help at a stall near a Tasmac outlet in Pallavaram.
Explaining the modus operandi, S Shanmugham, another volunteer said, the gypsies target cats near MRTS stations and bus depots it is easy to steal and escape. These cats are caught with nets, drugged and stuffed in gunny bags. There is another facet which fuels the demand of cat meat. Many people believe that cat-meat is an aphrodisiac and has several medicinal properties. Quacks prescribe cat meat for impotency, asthma and arthritis , said animal activist Suchitra Rao.
Also, cat meat is considered a delicacy among gypsies. A fortnight ago, PFCI volunteers raided a Narikurawa wedding. Around 20 cats had been slaughtered for cooking cat biriyani. A video clip (a copy of which is with TOI) shows people accepting that the dish was being cooked for guests.
Attempts to contact heads of gypsy community proved futile. Volunteers conducted a sensitisation camp at Poonamallee gypsy colony in January. "We plan to conduct more camps as according to Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSA) cat meat is unfit for human consumption," said Prasanna.