A UK videographer's claims of witnessing cat meat being sold in a hidden alleyway of Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown have sparked outrage and demands for clarification among Malaysian netizens.
About the claim: In a series of images purportedly taken in June 2018 and posted on his social media accounts this week, Ragib Choudhury claimed to have discovered a cat meat stall hidden away in Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur. Choudhury said that while exploring the alley, he found himself inside an indoor market and encountered cats locked in cages.
“At the time, I simply thought, ‘Oh, cool. probably someone’s pet,'" he wrote. “As I walked in, I immediately felt all eyes watching me, as if I didn’t belong – the place was grungy, incredibly dirty and a place I knew I shouldn’t have come to.”
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Choudhury then reportedly stumbled upon a meat stall with live cats inside two cages with a label indicating they were not for sale. He claimed he eventually witnessed cat meat being sliced in front of him.
“I then saw a lady who was dressed what felt like a Bond villain (she looked very cool to be fair) go up to the counter and there, right in front of me, the lady butcher cut up the cat meat. They both then started looking at me as I tried to discreetly take my last photos. All I knew was that I had to, and wanted to, get out of this place quickly.”
Commenters react: While the videographer's post lacked concrete evidence, such as photos or videos of the alleged transaction, the Instagram post generated thousands of views and hundreds of comments. It has since been taken down. Malaysian netizens expressed horror and urged action from authorities, with some tagged the official accounts of the Royal Malaysia Police and Kuala Lumpur City Hall.
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"Wait, I am Malaysian and I didn't know that this exists? What? OMG!" a commenter wrote in shock.
"This is so sick," another chimed in.
Accusations of misrepresentation: In his Facebook post, commenters expressed even more skepticism and accused Choudhury of misrepresentation.
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"Stop accusing before you understand the truth," a commenter wrote. "That's the pet cat from owner [sic], and they live with long ages, well taking [sic] care by the owner, the neighbourhood [sic] know them well, always have interaction with the cats as well."
"Imagine being so confidently wrong," another chimed in. "You definitely haven't seen or eaten pork before."
On Reddit, users also questioned the credibility of the videographer and pointed out discrepancies in his account.
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"Consent of subject (Chinese stall owner, allegedly deceased) is unknown," a Reddit user pointed out. "However, the board that stated 'Not for Sale' in multiple languages including German can be seen in the background and was relatively blurred for reasons unknown. Previously, stall owner was allegedly confronted by clueless tourists for this, thus multiple foreign languages were included."
"The sign clearly said that the cats were their pets and was not for sale nor cooking," commented another user in a separate post. "But the xenophobe photographer saw meat being cut up nearby and reacted like all xenophobes do. He assumed the worst. The meat is obviously pork meat. The slabs were way too big to be from a cat. That particular stall in Petaling Street market is a well-known Pork Butcher and has been there for decades."
Other users also accused him of editing the photos with darker colors to portray the market as a horrific place.
"Here, the photographer uses a darker color to portray the pasar (night market) is like a horror place where many atrocities happened. Smh," reacted one user.
Legal context: Malaysia currently lacks clear legislation prohibiting the trading or consumption of dog and cat meat. The country's Animal Welfare Act 2015 (Act 772) provides detailed guidance on animal care but does not explicitly prohibit the killing of animals including dogs and cats for human consumption. Animal rights organizations have been advocating to address this legal loophole for over a decade.
NextShark has reached out to Choudhury for comment.
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