Uzbekistan Still No Cat Lovers’ Paradise
Uzbekistan may be trying to improve its reputation among cat lovers.A court in Tashkent has begun hearings on the murder of a domestic cat, the Uznews.net website reports. The cat was killed on January 7, allegedly shot by one Alisher Shukurov with an air rifle in the Mirzo-Ulugbek district of Tashkent. Animal rights activists at the January 19 hearing presented evidence including a bullet taken from the cat's skull and video footage of the execution. But the trial has been postponed because, according to the report, a man admitted guilt in place of Shukurov, the son of a former police official who had been convicted for abuse of power: “Witnesses believe the young man is either a relative of the Shukurovs or a hired worker forced ‘to play the role of the culprit.’” Ailurophiles may recall with horror the violent raid on the Tashkent home of Vladimir Kravchenko by health inspectors last July. The officials allegedly poisoned two of Kravchenko’s beloved cats on the spot and seized another before a fourth could jump to its death out the fourth-floor apartment window. Later, Kravchenko received anonymous calls taunting him with news the seized cat’s kittens would be fed to other animals at the zoo. Cats are not uniformly hated in Uzbekistan, however, as evidenced by the popularity of a patriotic Uzbek version of the Nyan Cat meme on YouTube.
David Trilling is Eurasianet’s managing editor.