Written by Contributor: Jonathan Stroshine
Animal rights activists are once again protesting the consumption of cat meat at this past weekend’s century-old Santa Efigenia Festival in La Quebrada, Peru. Every year protesters hope there will not be another cat-eating festival.
The festival involves fireworks, drinking, and cat races, as well as the grilling and eating of felines. Approximately the meat of 100 felines was served at the festival.
A Peruvian congressman recently wrote in protest to the local mayor and Peru’s health minister—who denounced the practice but has not acted to stop it. Those against the festival also say it poses a risk for public health.
Participants counter that cats are bred specifically for the festival, and not many are eaten. The cat meat entrees are symbolic of the cat meat early Afro-Peru settlers were forced to consume in order to survive.
The Catholic holiday celebrates the African saint Santa Efigenia and Peruvians descended from African slaves. The annual festival known in Spanish as ‘La Festival Gastronomico del Gato’ is centered in the town just south of the country’s capital city, Lima.