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Documenting the slaughter

  • Source: Global Times
  • [22:14 August 31 2010]
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Fake mutton

Zhu said she was quite aware that cat meat is commonly used as faux mutton by barbecue vendors.

"I never eat barbecue at all," Zhu said.

Zhu and media reports said many barbecue shops are familiar with turning cat meat into "mutton." The meat is dipped in goat urine, brushed with sheep fat and sold as mutton for financial reasons.

"My boss bought dead cats to make mutton cubes, because buying a kilo of mutton or beef cost us at least 30 yuan, while purchasing an adult cat costs less than 10 yuan," a young boy surnamed Pan who worked in a barbecue restaurant for three years told Wuhan Evening News.

Health experts warned against eating cat meat.

"Cat meat tastes sour and has no nutrition. Besides, it hasn't gone through any health inspection," an official at Beijing Veterinary Station surnamed He told the Global Times.

According to He, outdoor cats are likely to become infected with a parasitic disease called oxoplasma gondii from eating infected birds or rodents.

"I seldom eat meat now," cameraman Guo Ke said, "I threw up for several weeks after I finished the film,"

Pet protection laws needed

China has laws to protect endangered animals, but nothing for domestic creatures. Animal-protection NGOs and volunteers are working on writing animal- protection into law but there has so far been no result.

In March, a team of legal experts led by Chang Jiwen, director of the Research Center of Social Laws at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, proposed a draft law on animal cruelty.

The draft law prohibits starving animals or ill-treating them in zoos, and forbids any slaughter in front of minors. Individuals that famish animals would be fined up to 1,000 yuan. Organizations would face fines of up to 100,000 yuan.

It's not the first time Chang tried to initiate such a law. In September last year, he published an animal protection proposal.

Earlier last year in April, Chang also drafted and published online an anti-torture animal law for discussion and debate. The draft included a controversial suggestion that anyone who killed or ate dogs and cats should be fined up to 5,000 yuan and face 15 days of detention.

There was opposition, although the draft met with broad approval on the Internet.

An Internet user asked, "Why can't we eat cats if they're not protected animals or an endangered species?" while some others believed that "eating cats can reduce and control the number of stray cats, so we should promote it."

Ai said, "The civilization of a society is shown by its attitudes towards disadvantaged groups, including animals."

An Xiang, a lawyer dedicated to animal welfare protection, told the Global Times that it is possible and necessary to protect "companion animals."

"So since the timing for legislation on protecting all animals is not ripe yet, perhaps we can consider creating legislation or protecting animals most closely connected with human beings, like companion animals," An said.

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