|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
「ネコ食い」ぶつ切り釜料理の残酷 2000, 02, 13
Okinawans taste for pussy leaves animal lovers stewing
Shukan Josei 2/15 By Cheryl Chow
Garfield, the lazy, uppity cat of cartoon fame is going to have to watch his fat behind, at least if he ever visits Okinawa.
Shukan Josei reports that ailurophiles of the region have been stewing with rage since a garish fact came to light: Cats are being butchered for food.
Feline flesh, the locals believe, has curative properties for asthma.
And black cats in particular are said to be yummy in soup.
“The Animal Protection Association” in the city of Ginowan in Okinawa was tipped off last December by a volunteer caretaker of local cats.
The woman stumbled on a horrifying practice while she was looking for missing cats.
She discovered a business selling cat meat allegedly run by an 84-year-old woman.
When a member of the aforementioned association visited the old woman's residence, he found and rescued 10 cats locked up in a sunless room, waiting for slaughter.
The old woman claimed that she's been in the cat meat business since 1945, and never once been criticized.
“It's what I do for a living.
I have the right to do whatever I want with the cats I get,” she asserts.
The old woman pays 2,000 yen per head for cats taken off the streets, and 5,000 yen for bona fide pets.
The magazine contends that while still alive, these cats are stuffed separately into a burlap bag and drowned in a bucket of water.
Their bodies are then hacked into small chunks.
There are more ways than one to skin a cat, however.
On Dec. 27 last year, the police received a report that a man in his 60s was roasting cats on a burner.
A neighbor smelled something foul and when she went to check, she was greeted with a hellish sight.
There lay a roasted cat, one blackened paw raised to heaven.
And next to the crisply burnt corpse was the lifeless form of a stray cat the woman had befriended.
As the horrified woman watched, the man threw it on the burner.
But apparently, the cat had only been stunned: as its flesh began to sizzle, the cat shot into the air with a blood-curdling screech.
Undaunted, the man grabbed it and gave it a hammer blow, knocking it out for good.
The man then proceeded to cook the animal on the burner.
When the police apprehended the man, he confessed to having eaten cats once or twice a year for five years.
He maintained that it's good for his asthma.
“Besides, the meat is tasty, better than chicken flesh and there's little fat,” he said.
There is, by the way, no medical evidence for this claim.
According to Shukan Josei, while some Okinawans vehemently deny that cats are eaten, others proudly claim that it is part of Okinawan culinary culture.
Cats became grub, the magazine conjectures, because most houses in Okinawa in the war-ravaged years were infested with rats.
So every household kept a cat.
And when people came down with illnesses like asthma, they would throw the resident cat into a pot and simmer it with herbs.
Animal lovers are outraged.
Since there is no paw-city, er, paucity of food in the city of Ginowan or elsewhere in Japan, they fume, there is absolutely no reason why pets should be consumed.
Last December, the Diet passed a law stating that killing or abandoning a pet without reason will result in a one-year sentence or less than 1 million yen in fines.
Perhaps this will help curb the recent spate of brutal killings and maiming of innocent animals.
Anyway, let's hope that when world leaders meet in Okinawa for the G-8 summit in July, they won't be served with cat shabu shabu.