By P. Oppili
Biriyani lovers, beware. When you eat this spicy non-vegetarian favourite, ensure the pieces of meat in the rice are only chicken or mutton.
It has now come to light that a section of hotels in the city are serving cat meat in biriyani touted as chicken or mutton. This was revealed during a cat-rescue operation jointly undertaken by Chennai-based animal welfare organisations People for Animals (PfA) and People for Cattle in India (PFCI), on Friday.
Nitesh Kumar Kothari of PfA said he received information that 13 cats were being kept in a small cage in a tribal community colony in Pallavaram Cantonment area, and were regularly being killed for their meat.
Following this, he went to the spot along with volunteers from PFCI. With the help of the local police, the cats were rescued by the activists, and rehabilitated in PfA Jinendra Animal Hospital and Shelter in Red Hills.
Shiranee Pereira, co-founder of PfA, said that last year, her organisation conducted a meeting to which the tribal community’s leaders were invited.
At the meeting, which also had police authorities participating, the representatives of the community were assured of alternative employment for youth. However, there was no follow-up to the meeting, she said.
Many of the rescued cats had been assaulted and a couple of them bore maggot-ridden wounds. They couldn’t consume normal food, and were surviving on fluid therapy, said Ms. Pereira.
In a majority of the districts in the State, the tribal community is involved in poaching activities.
Naturalists point out that the State government should implement a programme to provide education and create awareness among the community’s youth. Only such an effort would bring down the cases of poaching of pets, migratory birds and wildlife, they said.