Should it be illegal to eat pets? (Warning: may make you cringe)

Please understand before reading this article that this writer is not advocating the consumption of cute and cuddly kittens for any meal. 

Have you ever heard the expression “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse”?  Did you think the person who said that should be in prison?  Or have you ever been to a Chinese restaurant and heard someone say “I hope the General Tso’s chicken is really chicken”?  What do you think that person was implying?

In California, a man was arrested on February 7, 2012, for eating cats:

Jason Louis Wilmert, 35, has pleaded not guilty to two charges — cruelty to animals and using animals commonly kept as pets or companions as food, KBAK-TV reported , citing court documents.

In the United States, it is common for Americans to look in shock as others eat food we consider unusual.  A prime example is the television show Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.  Andrew Zimmern is a chef and foodie who travels around the world for the Travel Channel eating meals that make many Americans cringe.  A few examples of meals eaten by Andrew Zimmern include lizards, bats, guinea pig, seals, reindeer, camel, and practically every insect you could imagine.  (This writer will add that as someone who owned lizards it was quite difficult to watch Andrew Zimmern eat an iguana).

For many it is nice to watch someone travel around doing things that we will most likely never do.  Many of us forget that in some areas people have to eat foods we would normally never consider due to poverty, overpopulation, or even tradition.

In Cambodia in 2008, beef was $10 a pound – rat meat was $2.50 a pound.  One guess as to which meat you would find on the table of the poor more often during that time.  Garlic-flavored field rat quickly replaced many standard beef dishes.  Some families were even able to secure a better income by catching rats and making them “table-ready”.

In South Korea, dog meat is famous for its medicinal value (for cooling the body and improving virility).  In Japan, raw horse meat is a common finger food in bars while in China Turtle Shell Jelly is made up of exactly what you would imagine.  In Cambodia, tarantulas are said to have a great natural flavor and in Korea fermented baby mice are supposed to cure all kinds of ailments.

It is estimated that around 4 million cats are eaten in China each year and that the number of cats consumed is rising.

Jason Louis Wilmert’s alleged actions disgust this writer but should the eating of animals commonly considered pets be crimes?  My cat eats rabbits…

According to Bakersfield Eyewitness News:

At the district attorney’s office, Yraceburn said the law banning the eating of pets was enacted in 1989 and amended in 1996.

“It makes it against the law to use companion animals, or animals that are commonly kept as pets, for food,” Yraceburn explained. “Plain and simple.”

Eyewitness News checked the law and found it also does not apply to “any livestock, poultry, fish, shellfish, or any other agricultural commodity produced in the state.”

This law also doesn’t apply to the lawful killing of wildlife, or the legal killing of any animals under laws regarding game animals.

According to My Fox DC:

Supervising Deputy District Attorney Michael Yraceburn would not comment on the case, but he confirmed to The Bakersfield Californian that “the individual is being prosecuted for using cats as a food source.”

Yraceburn added that there were no reports of missing pets.

Again, this writer does not advocate the eating of cats (no matter the circumstances).

Now I add kitteh pictures to apologize for writing this to my cat – he’s watching me right now with a look that says he will be destroying my favorite sweater tonight…

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