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Some restaurants are serving cat: animal worker
(Shanghai Daily)
Updated: 2006-01-06 09:14

Restaurant diners may want to skip the lamb.

Animal aid workers alleged some restaurants in Shanghai were serving cat meat that was listed on menus as mutton.

The Shanghai Small Animal Association, one of the earliest and most renowned NGOs in the city, said it has gathered enough evidence to make the charge after a one-year investigation.

The claim has not been confirmed by police or other authorities.

The association said stray cats were being sold to vendors who produced goods with the fur and sold the meat to restaurants.

Li Ruohai, the director of the association, said they launched the investigation a year ago after they repeatedly noticed stray cats were disappearing.

The association received frequent tips from its members or animal lovers that they saw people catching stray cats and selling them to food vendors.

Li said a team of volunteers from the association launched an undercover investigation.

Progress was slow at first. But recently, one of the investigators managed to get several pieces of "mutton" from a food vendor.

The meat was taken to a lab where one of the association's volunteers works. A DNA test found cat meat in two of the 12 samples, Li said.

Li showed Shanghai Daily the written report from the lab. He claimed it was strong evidence that stray cats were being eaten.

"The thieves are killing our efforts to save the stray animals," Li said.

The association also said some of the animals were used for cat fur products.

Shanghai Daily searched auction Website eBay.com.cn for cat fur items. Many goods including cat fur bags and clothes were available on the Website.

The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration didn't comment on the the Shanghai Small Animal Association's DNA report, but said it is illegal to sell cat meat.

"In China, animals such as sheep, cows, pigs and even dogs are listed as legal food materials, but never cats," said Gu Zhenhua, an official with the FDA.

"We have no food safety standards for cat meat because it's not supposed to be on the menu," Gu said. "Without food safety and quarantine checks, it's unsafe to serve cat meat."

Gu said those who sell cat meat will be punished according to the law.

Gu also said there was no common procedure to distinguish cat meat from other types of meat.

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