At the end of December 2002 rumour was spread in Poland that dog and cat meat was available. It was offered mainly in Oriental snack bars. This information triggered a violent response in the society and heated debate in the media, full of emotion and containing xenophobic elements. As a result many customers, once satisfied, gave up on eating in such establishments. What is interesting is that this event, although described as an unusual scandal and an unprecedented example of pathology, in fact made use of the recurrent motive of 'contaminated food' well known in the folklore. As in many cultures, also in the Polish culture there is the ban on eating some animals. Although there are no sanctions if the 'non-consumption rule' is broken, it is considered to be normative and, with some exceptions, is observed. Dog and cat meat is considered by Poles to be not so much non-eatable as not eaten. Therefore, it is not food in the cultural meaning of the word. And this is where the sources for the spontaneous boycott of popular Oriental snack bars and restaurants should be looked for.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.