Roy Lumbe @lumbe_roy
A Nakuru court has sentenced a man to three years in prison after he admitted selling cat meat to unsuspecting samosa vendors and hotels within town.
James Kimani pleaded guilty to a charge of slaughtering the animal which is not fit for human consumption.
In the first count, he was said to have “willingly slaughtered a cat for purpose of human consumption” on June 25, within Nakuru town.
In the second count, he was charged with slaughtering the animal in an undesignated open place contrary to section 2 of the Meat Control Act.
According to the Act, and public health descriptions, it is dangerous to eat uninspected and wild meat. And because the cat is not classified as a food animal, it is illegal to eat its meat.
Appearing before Nakuru principal magistrate Bernard Mararo, Kimani pleaded for leniency saying he had been given the job by a local hotelier who had promised to pay him more money if he brought in more meat.
He said he was not aware it was illegal to slaughter the cats adding that he did not know it was against the law to slaughter any animal in public.
Upon interrogation, the man said he had been skinning cats for sale to some clients in town over the past seven years.
In his ruling, the magistrate sentenced the accused to two years in prison on the first count or an alternative of Sh200,000 and one year on the second count with a fine of Sh50,000.
“The accused is sentenced by his own plea. He is to serve two years on the first count with a Sh200,000 fine and on the second count a fine of Sh50,000 or an imprisonment of one year,” ruled Mararo.
Kimani had claimed he started the business after identifying a gap in the market, although he admitted his customers were unaware of the source of meat.
He said he has sold more than 1,000 cats to samosa vendors and a hotel in the town since 2012, adding that he has a ready market for cat skin, where he makes Sh500 per each.
Residents called on police to thoroughly investigate the matter and establish whether the meat was finding its way into the local market.