“Care for a bowl of Dragon and Tiger anyone?” That’s a delicacy served at upscale restaurants in Canton, China, consisting of stir fried snake and cat meat. I’m not certain it’s still on the menus, but it was as late as five years ago.
A law in China making it illegal to serve cat and dog meat has been proposed, but even if enacted, it will be difficult if not impossible to enforce nationwide. Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese city, has an ordinance against serving cat and dog meat, and reportedly, it is being rigidly enforced.
Dogs are habitually eaten in parts of Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, Taiwan, Vietnam, Polynesia, the Philippines, and Africa. In the United States, eating dogs and cats is permissible in 44 states, but sale of these animals for food is illegal.
In Canada, it is legal to sell and eat dogs, but they must be slaughtered in view of a food inspector.
Feral house cats are abundant in the Australian Outback where they prey on many of the native animals the Aboriginals relied on for food. As a result, the Aboriginals have taken to killing and eating the cats as a source of protein.
Cats have also become serious predators on native animals in other places where they have become established, and because people who eat cats are often in need of additional protein in their diets, human predation on cats is, in the overall sense, beneficial.
The only thing that bothers me about cat-eaters is the cruelty that some inflict on the cats
in preparing them for the table. Sarah Hartman on her Internet site (http://www.messybeast.com/eat cats.htm) cites a British program showing a live cat being thrown into boiling water and then removed and dumped into a pail of cold water. The cat, still showing signs of life, was then skinned and eviscerated. Allegedly, the episode was filmed somewhere in China.
Hartman states, “The Chinese place great emphasis on freshness of food, hence the live skinning of food animals.”
I would be on the verge of starvation before I would kill and eat a cat, or a dog for that matter. But then a Hindu from India would starve
before eating a beef steak or a hamburger.
I once had a Hindu student, and I asked him, “What if you were served some meat and was told it was pork, and after you had eaten it was informed that it was really beef?” He said,”I would vomit, because it would be like I had eaten my mother’s flesh.”
I should mention that Muslims are forbidden from eating dogs or cats, and that Jews cannot eat dogs, and are not supposed to eat pork, because pigs do not have split hooves nor chew cuds.
On an entirely different subject, you may recall my having expressed concern that the oak trees overhanging my deck may not produce any acorns this year.
But one of the white oaks has produced about half a pound so far, while the water oak has produced less than a hand full. Much to my regret, the huge white oak closest to my house has died, probably from old age.
Bob Mount is a Professor Emeritus with the Department of Zoology and Entomology at Auburn University. He is also chairman of the Opelika Order of Geezers, well-known local think tank and political clearing house. He writes about birds, snakes, turtles, bugs and assorted conservation topics.