While the trade and consumption of dog meat in Asia is increasingly being discussed in public, the equally brutal cat meat trade is still relatively unknown. In recent years, cats have become popular pets in Vietnam – despite the increasing demand for their meat, which can no longer be met with capturing stray cats alone.
FOUR PAWS have worked alongside Change for Animals Foundation to create an extensive, first of its kind report on the cat meat trade in Asia. Here are some key points at a glance:
- In Vietnam alone, an estimated one million cats every year – including strays and pets – are stolen from the streets and even from people’s homes, trafficked across the country and brutally slaughtered.
- Cat meat is locally known as “Little Tiger”.
- The trade is not only a threat to animal welfare but also to human health with the risk of rabies and zoonotic diseases.
Also, surprisingly, the hunting, slaughtering and consumption of cats was explicitly illegal in Vietnam until January 2020. However, the law has been revoked and cat meat is in more demand than ever – particularly in the north of the country, but its popularity is spreading to other parts of the country as far south as Ho Chi Minh City.
To us they are a members of our families, but to some they are commodities with a price tag. Costs vary but our investigation found:
- A live cat is sold for around £5 per kilo, raw meat per kilo is £6.50.
- Restaurants offer dishes prepared with cat meat for about £5.
- Black cats are worth more and are sold for £6.50 per kilo, raw meat per kilo is (up to) £16.50 per kilo.
As with dog meat there are differing beliefs associated with the consumption of cat meat. For the younger generations they consider cat meat an exotic delicacy. However, for the older generation its consumption is usually linked to customs, superstition, and the lunar calendar. Other beliefs include eating cat meat to fend off bad luck, or eating black cat meat for its healing properties (of which there is no scientific evidence).
You can read the full report here.
By choosing to #LiveKinder, you can help us to end it below: