Barbecued Cats a Popular Delicacy in Changchun

September 11, 2007 Updated: September 11, 2007

BBQ cats have become a popular delicacy in China's northeast city of Changchun. Despite health warnings from the Animal Disease Control Center, many restaurants provide live cats for customers to choose from, and then cook them on the spot.

According to City Evening report, several cats were locked in a cage in front of a BBQ shop. A waiter showed the cats to a customer, which were then killed and cooked on the spot, fetching about RMB 100 yuan each (approximately US$13).

According to cat vendor Lao Zhou, people eat cats, but currently no one is in the business of raising cats for slaughter; cat vendors normally collect them from households, paying 20 to 30 yuan for each.

Aside from being served in restaurants, cats are also sold in the pigeon market on Taibei Ave, Changchun city. BBQ stalls are set up in close proximity to the cat stall. According to a chef that specializes in cooking cat meat, customers first pick out a cat from the market and then bring the slaughtered animal to him. He will cook the cat for a fee of about 10 yuan (approximately US$1.50).

According to the local Animal Health Supervision Institute, all animal or poultry products sold in markets or restaurants should be killed in a designated location that meets sanitation standards and passes the food safety inspections. Currently, there is no designated area for slaughtering cats because killing cats for sale is unlawful.

According to Mrs Li Xiuyun, Chief of the Changchun Animal Disease Control Center, people are misled by the myth that eating cats is beneficial to one's health. On the contrary, cats can be infected with many types of parasites, which can be passed on to humans if they eat an infected animal.