The Indian market where rat earns top price

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Hindu devotees prepare treats for rats at the Karni Mata temple in Deshnoke near Bikaner, in the Indian state of Rajasthan on December 24, 2018. (AFP)
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In this file photo taken on December 23, 2018 an Indian tea-tribe vendor sells cooked and uncooked rats at a weekly market in Kumarikata village along the Indo-Bhutan border, some 90km from Guwahati. (AFP)
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In this file photo taken on December 23, 2018 an Indian tea-tribe vendor sells cooked and uncooked rats at a weekly market in Kumarikata village along the Indo-Bhutan border, some 90km from Guwahati. (AFP)
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In this file photo taken on December 23, 2018 an Indian tea-tribe vendor sells cooked and uncooked rats at a weekly market in Kumarikata village along the Indo-Bhutan border, some 90km from Guwahati. (AFP)
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Rats drink from bowl of milk at the Karni Mata temple in Deshnoke near Bikaner, in the Indian state of Rajasthan on December 24, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 27 December 2018

The Indian market where rat earns top price

  • The traps are placed at the entrance of the rat-holes in the evening and the rodents are caught as they come out to scavenge

KUMARIKATA, India: Freshly-caught rat is at the top of the holiday menu for crowds flocking to a market in northeastern India that specializes in rodents from local fields.
Destined to be boiled, skinned and then cooked in a spicy gravy, rat is more popular than chicken and pork with customers at the Sunday market in the village of Kumarikata in Assam state.
Shoppers buy hundreds of freshly caught and skinned rats that local farmers say are hunted to avoid damage to their fields in the state which borders Bhutan. The ready-roasted kind also goes down well. Rat has become a valuable source of income for the poor “Adivasi” tribal people who struggle to make ends meet working in Assam’s famed tea gardens.
In the winter months when tea picking slumbers, the Adivasis go to rice paddies to trap rats for the market. A kilogramme (2.2 pounds) of rat meat, which is considered a delicacy, sells for about 200 rupees ($2.8) — as much as for chicken and pork. Farmers say the region has seen growing numbers of rats in recent years. “We put traps in the fields as the rats eat people’s paddy,” Samba Soren, a rat vendor at Kumarikata, told AFP. The rodents are hunted at night during the harvesting season with traps made from bamboo. The traps are placed at the entrance of the rat-holes in the evening and the rodents are caught as they come out to scavenge.
The vendors have to work at night to make sure other predators do not get to the dead rats first. Some of the rats weigh more than a kilogramme and the market traders say they get between 10 and 20 kilogrammes a night.


Ancient cup given to 1st marathon victor returned to Greece

Updated 13 November 2019

Ancient cup given to 1st marathon victor returned to Greece

ATHENS, Greece: An ancient Greek cup awarded as a prize to the marathon winner in the first modern Olympics of 1896 has been returned to Athens from a German university.
Greece’s Culture Ministry says the 6th century B.C. pottery vessel was considered lost for decades until research in 2014 by archaeologist Giorgos Kavvadias identified it in the University of Muenster’s collections.
A ministry statement says it was proved “beyond any doubt” that the two-handled cup painted with ancient runners was the one given to Spiros Louis, the Greek marathon victor in 1896.
Following correspondence with Greek officials, the university agreed to return the cup, which was part of a private German collection it had bought in 1986.
The vessel was presented at a ceremony Wednesday at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.