The town of La Quebrada, about two hours south of Lima, will not be hosting it’s annual La Festival Gastronomico del Gato (The Gastronimic Festival of the Cat) after a judge decided to put a stop to the town’s feline feast held in honor of St. Iphigenia.
The festival began in commemoration of the first Spanish settlers in the area, who initially survived only by eating cats. Each September 100 cats are cooked and eaten at the festival, not just microwaved or boiled, mind you, but cooked to gourmet perfection. Specialties include spicy cat stew, grilled cat, even cat cooked Chinese style, and surprisingly, it does not taste just like chicken, but more like the meat of our other furry friend the cute, fuzzy bunny.
The cats are reportedly kept together in a large cage and fed for a year, then thrown into a bag and drowned before being butchered and cooked. The festival has come under increasing scrutiny over the last few years, and has been roundly condemned by cat lovers as well as animal rights activists.
After the 2013 festivities wrapped up, a judge banned the festival after hearing arguments for and against the current cat eating practice. Animal rights activists say the treatment of the cats at the festival is cruel, and that eating cat meat is not safe. Proponents argue that as long as the cat is healthy it’s okay to eat, some even believe that consuming cat meat increases fertility, helps in the treatment of bronchitis and acts as an aphrodisiac.
While popular locally, most Peruvians it seems are not at all that keen on consuming kitty meat delicacies, no matter how well prepared. Which is good for them, because the festival is cancelled indefinitely.