Demand for cat meat in Chennai and it being a repugnant good…

As I was reading this piece on rising demand  for cat meat in Chennai, I was feeling my stomach churn. As Al Roth asked why certain meats like chicken, fish are acceptable and others like horse, cat etc are repugnant?

Why can’t you eat horse or dog meat in a restaurant in California, a state with a population that hails from all over the world, including some places where such meals are appreciated? The answer is that many Californians not only don’t wish to eat horses or dogs themselves, but find it repugnant that anyone else should do so, and they enacted this repugnance into California law by referendum in 1998. Section 598 of the California Penal Code states in part: “[H]orsemeat may not be offered for sale for human consumption. No restaurant, cafe, or other public eating place may offer horsemeat for human consumption.” The measure passed by a margin of 60 to 40 percent with over 4.6 million people voting for it (see <;.

….The repugnance of eating horses is not limited to California. On September 7, 2006, the U.S. House of Representatives passed, by a vote of 351 – 40, and sent to the Senate, H.R. 503: “To … prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving,  possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption.” (That bill seems unlikely to pass into law, however.)

Coming back to Chennai:

On February 9, the police and animal welfare activists conducted raids in Pallavaram in southwest Chennai, rescuing at least a dozen cats from two settlements of a nomadic community. The cats had been captured to be sold to roadside eateries and pushcart vendors that would have served their meat as mutton in biryani to oblivious customers, alleged Shiranee Pereira, co-founder of the non-profit People for Animals.

Pereira had received calls from a number of distraught cat owners claiming their pets were missing. “Lots of cat lovers were in a state of depression,” she said.

This isn’t the first such operation her group has been involved in. In 2016, People for Animals had been involved in raids on the settlements of a nomadic tribe known as the Narikoravar, who had been capturing cats with wire loops and nets and selling them to small restaurants, Pereira alleged. So when the complaints grew, she added, the activists decided to go in again.

There are arguments on both side. One says there is demand for cat meat and others say it is being mixed and used to sell as mutton etc..


One Response to “Demand for cat meat in Chennai and it being a repugnant good…”

  1. Cat meat in India – Health Econ Bot Says:

    […] Mostly Economics blog, by Amol […]

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