Is the cat trade in China morally bad or is it just a matter of a cultural difference? We should always respect the cultures of other countries, of course. I have written about cat meat before and criticized it heavily but many people argue that it is no different to eating horse meat or rabbit. Is the eating of cats seen as a crime because they are pets? And lets not forget that the eating of cat meat is, as far as I am aware, confined to certain areas of China. It is not all of China who are guzzling down cat meat.
Well, the reasons why I am so thoroughly against it is this. It would seem that the vast majority of the cats that are rounded up in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province for eating, are feral cats. So these are not exactly domestic cats. That makes it more acceptable to kill and eat them and some may argue that it provides a service to the city and area in managing the feral cat population.
However, feral cats are descended from domestic cats and when the wildcat became domesticated many thousands of years ago it was for mutual benefit.The cat has stuck to the bargain and we have not. The cause of the feral cat problem in China is because of irresponsible cat keeping by some Chinese people. This irresponsibility is not confined to the Chinese. It happens all over the world.
So some Chinese have produced feral cats through their irresponsibility. This is like producing misery as a feral cat's life in China is very tough and harsh. It is also short, mercifully. So the underlying situation is wrong already. The source of the cat meat should not be there. If we make a comparison at this stage with cattle there is a huge difference. Livestock is managed for the puropose of eating it and in the west controlled carefully or should be. Cows are not companion animals and the slaughter of cattle is carefully managed and carried out humanely. Turning to horses. Horses are not companion animals normally. They are working animals. There is not the same relationship with a horse even if the horse is a companion. And a horse that is a companion would not end up as horse meat. Rabbits: these are eaten everywhere it seems but we do not eat pet rabbits. The rabbits that are eaten are wild ones that are caught or or killed or farmed rabbits.
Then there are many people who, in any event, would disagree with the eating of rabbits and horses. This is a grey area. The whole argument is a sliding scale and not black and white. But the cat trade in China is at the very top end of that sliding scale for one overriding reason in addition to the reasons given above.
The feral cats of China are treated brutally from the time they are captured to the time that they are killed. It is this brutality that is the main moral objection to the cat trade in China. To recap the cat trade in China is wrong morally because cats are companion animals and they are killed brutally and treated hideously.
The cat trade in China does not only include eating them but there is also the cat fur trade. A lot of the fur on trinkets, gloves etc, is cat or dog fur. These cats are also mistreated. It is banned in the west but it slips through the net because it is disguised as something else. Everything I have said about cats above applies to dogs as well.
And it isn't just the voice of so called animal rights extemists who are against the China cat trade. Through elected governments the kind of thing perpetrated in parts of China against the feral and domestic cat would be a criminal act in most countries in Europe and in North America. In other words, the people of these countries have elected to outlaw it and make this sort of behavior a crime. For instance, in the UK, under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, section 4 and probably section 5 it would be a crime, and on successful conviction the person could be sentenced to imprisonment and fined up to £20,000. That is how we perceive what they do in parts of China in relation to the cat and the cat trade in China. We in the UK, would be imprisoning the Chinese people who do these things to cats.
The cat trade in China is based on criminality at every level and as mentioned it is immoral too (all crime is immoral) at a fundamental level, because the cat is a companion animal.
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