The next time you want to stop at a roadside eatery in Chennai for a plate of biryani, you may wish to reconsider your decision. According to reports, cat meat is being used to cook this delicacy in certain parts of the city, especially in Pallavaram.
Police and volunteers from People for Animals (PfA) rescued 16 cats which were kept in cages, with no food or water, over the weekend. The animals were in a dismal condition, some infested with maggots and all of them suffering from dehydration, The Hindu said. Most were aggressive, induced by trauma, and will take a long time to recover. Some reports added that the cats were being killed by putting them in boiling water.
According to The News Minute (TNM), the animals had been captured by the Narikuravar community. Sagar Sheth, an activist who was part of the rescue team, told TNM, "At the corner, there was a man chopping meat. He told us that it was cat meat and that it was to be sold. Rs 200 for 2 kgs he said, it was that cheap. A man even ate a raw piece of meat and recommended that we try black cat's blood."
While a complaint has been registered, the police admitted this was not an exceptional situation, as the community is traditionally known to have kept cats for consumption. The meat retrieved from the site is also going to be tested to check if it was mixed with parts of any other animals.
In 2010, The New Indian Express had reported that cat biryani was part of the main course of marriages in the Narikurvar community, followed by cat soup, served on the occasion of the birth of a male child. The reason behind this dietary choice, the people said, was their inability to afford chicken, which is far more expensive.
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