Diner's guide to good cuisine in china..
Planning on going to the the Olympic games in Bejing this year? If you're dining in any of the local restaurants in town, you might want to stay away from a dish that is commonly called "The Dragon and the Tiger." Why you ask? Well...the main ingredient of this dish is your common domestic house cat. The dish is also referred to as "Dragon Meets Tiger," "A Scramble of Dragon and Tiger," "Dragon Duels with Tiger" and so on. Needless to say, you might want to stay away from any dish that has the word Tiger in it.
What's even more interesting about the Chinese practice of eating cats is the method by which they prepare the meat. The Chinese place a great importance on the freshness of their meat, therefore many restaurants in Bejing use the "boiling alive" method. Simply put, the chef bludgeons the cat to near incapacity and then places the still live cat in boiling water, some chefs believe in boiling the cat to death and others believe in boiling the cat for a short period of time and then placing the cat in cold water. The cold water is used to stop the cooking process and this allows the chef to remove the fur of the still live cat. Many chefs believe that the more the cat suffers, the better the meat will be. The practice of boiling alive also means that the blood of the cat will still be found within the meat supposedly improving the flavor of the the meat. It should also be noted that most cats remain alive within the boiling water for anywhere from 8 to 15 seconds.
With the legal cat fur trade and the feral cat death squads in Bejing, there is a surplus of cat meat in the city. So there is no shortage of places that serve the dish. According to many experts, Bejing has as many as 150 restaurants that serve cat meat. In the city of Bejing alone, over 150 to 200 family pet cats go missing every month.
What's really interesting to me is the general attitude of many Chinese and other Asian countries (we'll get to that in a second) towards cats. Cats are regarded as being no more sentient than your average vegetable.
Whether you are religious or if the thought of eating cat simply grosses you out, there's a reason why humans shouldn't be eating cat meat. Humans actually don't have stomach acid strong enough to digest the pathogens found in carnivorous animals. The other reason why humans shouldn't be eating cat meat is because it's a well known fact that the deadly virus SARS was originally contracted by individuals in China that consumed the cat-like Civet. It should be noted that the Civet is technically not a cat but they originate from the exact same biological lines (Felidae family) as the common house cat.
The H5N1 (Bird Flu) Virus is also carried by feral cats. Indonesia has the largest feral cat community infected with the Bird Flu virus in the world. Is it no wonder that Indonesia also has the largest amount of documented deaths related to the Bird Flu virus in the world? As mentioned earlier, cat meat is prevalent in certain parts of Indonesia and it's not out of the realm of possibility that some people have contracted the virus from eating cat meat.
The Chinese and Indonesians are not alone in these atrocities. Many other countries allow or turn a blind eye to the consumption of cat meat. The main culprits are Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, India, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea and Cambodia.
Below is a map of countries where cat meat is available and or where the "boiling cat" technique is used. Countries highlighted with the red stars are the offenders.
Please note that many of these countries have regions where cat meat is more popular than others. The purpose of the map is to show you where cat meat is regularly consumed. It's by no means a condemnation of a whole country or all of its people. Until local laws are created and or enforced, the attrocities will continue to happen in these countries.
My conservative estimates place the death toll of domestic and feral cats attributed to the fur trade and cat meat trade at five million cats. The numbers are fairly simple, over 1.2 million cats are killed for their fur and over 4 million cats are killed for cat meat every year. Remember that unlike the seal trade, there are no sanctioned ways to kill cats so many are killed by electrocution, boiling in hot water, bludgeoning, strangulation and many other inhumane methods as well.
If the thought of a cat boiling alive in a boiling pot of water angers you, do something about it. Sign the petition that I'm supporting demanding that the media cover the cat death squads in Bejing. Don't just sit in your chair an do nothing about this, you and everyone you know can put pressure on the world and governments of these countries to change and enforce their policies.
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