VISAKHAPATNAM: Beware of what you eat! Chances are you may be eating feline meat along with your non-vegetarian dish at your favourite road-side food vendor. On Monday, Arilova police arrested a six-member gang, including three women, for allegedly selling cat meat. The gang members, who hail from Guntur district, hunted two cats for dinner. When the police raided Jodugulapalem area and arrested the six gang members, they also found two cats in the hunters vehicle, which were seized. However, one cat died.
Following this, Visakha Society for Protection and Care of Animal (VSPCA) has requested the police and Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) health department to conduct regular inspections of the road-side food joints for cat meat. According to Pradeep Nath of VSPCA, for the past few years, it has been observed that hunters from Odisha and other districts come to Vizag with a single-minded objective—to hunt cats, dogs, bats, crows, monkeys and eat their meat. But of late it was found that the hunters sell some of the cat meat to road-side eateries, who waste no time in buying it for cutting costs.
“These hunters, who belong to the same family, take turns in coming to Vizag and surrounding areas once in three months. After strangling a cat with a scooter gear wire, they chop its head off, which is very poisonous, immediately. Later, they deskin it and cut the rest into small pieces. This cat meat is sold to some road side vendors for `30 to `40 per kg,” Pradeep Nath told TNIE.
Animal Welfare Association stated while no vendor admits to buying cat meat, the truth is cat meat is mixed and cooked with the non-vegetarian dishes. The tabby hunters can easily be recognised in Vizag; they tow a vehicle—a closed auto-rickshaw— decorated with pictures of gods and goddesses. While going around the city, they hunt for cats and hide their carcasses inside the vehicle.
“As a part of cat protection programme, we have an investigating team, including a legal representative, to check on the cats in the city. With residents complaining to GVMC to take away the cats in their neighbourhood has not helped the protection programme. Awareness needs to be created on cat protection,” he added. A case was filed against the gang for animal cruelty. Arilova police is investing the case.