A thirty-four-year-old Kenyan man by name James Mukangi has been sentenced to three years in prison for making samosas with cat meat for residents of Nakuru.
He was charged on two counts; for slaughtering a cat for human consumption in a deceptive manner contrary to the Food, Drugs and Chemical Substances Act and for slaughtering an animal at an undesignated place contrary to the meat control regulations.
Chief Magistrate, Bernard Mararo, handed Mukangi a three-year jail term with 200,000 shillings ($1,982) fine option for the first charge, and a year’s imprisonment or 50,000 shillings ($495.50) fine for the second, after he pleaded guilty to both charges.
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Mukangi was apprehended on Sunday while skinning cats along the railway lines at the outskirts of the town Nakuru, where he had already cut off the head of a cat, ready to skin it, reports local media The Star Kenya.
According to him, he has been engaged in selling cat meat samosas for the past eight years and has managed to make over 500,000 Kenyan shillings ($4,955) from his business.
He further admitted that, “there’s always a high demand for the cat meat but I have always failed to meet it due to a lack of cats in my area. For close to eight years, I have skinned over 1100 cats. It was hard when I started but my clientele has grown.” He was quoted by The Star Kenya.
Dr. Githui Kaba, a county veterinary officer stated that consuming cat meat is unsafe and also illegal as the meat had not undergone inspection before consumption.
Mukangi’s act is equally against the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (2012) which is a revised version of an earlier law passed in 1983.
The law states that cruel behavior toward an animal is prohibited and includes starvation, abandonment and killing in a cruel manner. A violation warrants a fine of three thousand shillings, which is equivalent to 29.73 USD, or six months in prison.
Cat meat is relished in some parts of Africa such as Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon.
In Cameroon, cat meat is usually eaten at Christmas to mark the festive season. It is also eaten during the Batibo ceremony which is held from March to June annually and is believed to bring good luck to all who eat it.