In this Sept. 23, 2012 file photo, people watch a cat race during festivities in honor of Santa Efigenia in La Quebrada, Peru. Every year, Peruvians descended from African slaves come to La Quebrada to celebrate the adored black saint Santa Efigenia, who was popular among the then Spanish colony’s African slaves. Cat races, a fireworks dance and a night of eating and drinking close out the celebration. AP
LIMA, Peru— A Peruvian congressman has joined animal rights activists to try and halt the consumption of barbecued cat at an annual religious festival.
The activists say at least 100 cats will be eaten at this weekend’s festival of Santa Efigenia in La Quebrada, a town south of Lima.
Congressman Juan Urquiza joined activists this year to write the district mayor and Peru’s health minister and demand a ban on cat-eating under a domestic animal protection law.
Activists also claim that dining on felines is a public health danger.
Health Minister Midori de Habich says the practice should be halted. But she has taken no action.
La Quebrada residents defend their tradition and say the cats sacrificed are specially bred with only a handful killed and eaten.
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