In response to an international outcry, someone in Peru has stepped up and done the right thing for the gatit@s…
A court in the Peruvian province of Cañete (south of Lima) prohibited the so-called Festival of Curruñau, a popular feast in homage to the Ethiopian saint Iphigenia in which the locals for years have been killing cats in order to eat them later in stews.
The court attended the protection suit presented by the College of Attorneys of Lima (CAL), which, in turn, had acted upon request of animal-defence organizations.
The president of the Commission for the Study of Animal Rights of CAL, Sonia Córdova, indicated that during the judicial proceedings, it was proven that the cats were treated with cruelty. “In the Festival of Curruñau they tortured and threw firecrackers at cats before eating them,” Córdova denounced.
Along with the consumption of cat meat, the case prohibits the running of the cats, which included the use of fireworks. The festival “fomented violence…and causes grave social damage and harm to public health,” in the opinion of judge María Luyo Sánchez.
Córdova said that the protective action took into account not only the suffering of the cats, but the psychological damage which it caused in many persons to see the mistreatment of domestic animals with a long tradition as pets.
The latest version of the Festival of Curruñao took place last month and that occasion was marked by the actions of animal rights activists, who came to Cañete to repudiate the “feast”, with the support of local authorities.
The people of Cañete argued that it was a popular celebration in homage to St. Iphigenia — for whom there is no linkage to the consumption of cats — and that it was part of the popular culture of that and other zones, including some barrios in Lima, the custom of using felines as food.
Luis Rufino Enríquez, representative of the organizing committee for the event, said that there would be a formal appeal of the resolution, considering it without precedent. “It is absurd that a judicial case attempt to change popular customs which have been repeated since the colonial era,” he said to the newspaper La República.
Considering that this “custom” dates back to the colonial era, that’s just one more reason for banning it. A lot of colonial “customs” were cruel and senseless and characterized by torture in the name of saints and Christianity, regardless of the fact that, as here, the saint in question had no ties to any such practices. Add to that the fact that the colonial era in Latin America corresponded to a superstitious time in mainland Europe, when cats were routinely tortured and killed in the name of witch-hunting, and it becomes painfully clear why this “custom” must die. What century is this, again?