What’s for Dinner? Crocodile Farm for Tourists Set to Slaughter its Reptiles

There is now almost a 1:2 ratio of crocodiles to humans in the village of Jevisovice

By Jennifer Leevan and Marcia Caceres

Crocodile meat from a local farm is poised to make its way onto Czech restaurant menus, a development that may generate relief for a village deluged by reptiles and anger among animal rights activists.

The on-farm slaughter of crocodiles and the processing of crocodile meat for sale to consumers has been approved in the Czech Republic after Agro Jevisovice, a crocodile farm in southern Moravia, was unable to handle the crocodiles’ increasing rate of reproduction.

Petr Havel, an analyst and agriculture specialist, explained on Czech Radio that the situation came about when the Nile crocodiles “began reproducing, and there was no way of dealing with it.”

The farm was initially established in 2004 as a tourist attraction, but was overrun with the reptiles because of a lack of legal framework for their slaughter. While the farm envisioned expansion, the plans fell through and there was no means of accommodating the new generation of reptiles. There is now almost a 1:2 ratio of crocodiles to humans in the village.

Prague Wandering Spring 2013 Issue Number 2 Crocodiles

The on-farm slaughter of crocodiles and the processing of crocodile meat for sale to consumers has been approved in the Czech Republic.
Photo by Marcia Caceres

According to Antonin Kyjovsky, the director of Agro Jevišovice, the crocodile farm plans to put down 130 crocodiles. Kyjovsky defends the culling, “I don’t see any reason why to avoid it.”

The crocodiles on the farm are the third or fourth generation of crocodiles living in an artificial environment and limited space, “It works like this in every closed breeding. In the case of cattle or pigs it is not a problem for anyone, why should a 4th generation of crocodiles be a different case?” the farm director said.

Many animal rights groups do not share the same feelings as Kyjovsky as the farm was expected to be only a tourist attraction.

The Foundation for the Protection of Animals in Prague, a non-governmental organization, disagrees with the farm culling. The Foundation has sent complaints to the Ministry of Agriculture as well as to the European Commission. “The Foundation for the Protection of Animals considers the regulation unethical,” says Dornicova, regarding the ministry’s decision to allow the crocodile culling. The regulation, however, was accepted by the European Commission and was enacted on March 1.

“At this point, Kyjovsky feels he is doing the public a service: ‘If the crocodile skin and meat market gets saturated by farms, there will be no demand for illegal poachers who actually endanger the crocodiles in nature,’ he said.”

At this point, Kyjovsky feels he is doing the public a service: “If the crocodile skin and meat market gets saturated by farms, there will be no demand for illegal poachers who actually endanger the crocodiles in nature,” he said. While he initially viewed his farm as a tourist attraction, his attention has turned to selling meat and skin. “The farm already has contracts with both wholesalers and specialized restaurants,” he noted, without revealing names when questioned,

Some  Czech restaurants that are known for exotic or luxury food items remain vehemently against serving crocodile meat.

“I asked our chef, Shahaf Shabtay, about serving crocodile meat,” smiled Tereza Sislerova, the customer relationship officer at SaSaZu in Prague, “he told me that he will never put it on the menu.” In addition, Celeste, a restaurant that often features game meats, does not foresee putting Crocodile Tartar or Crocodile Shortribs on their menu. “I don’t think we will serve crocodile meat in our place – ever,” said Lubo Mikus, one of the part owners of Celeste. He feels that crocodile is not a sort of meat that has any tradition in Europe, “It is more of the curiosity and trendy stuff… people do strange things.”

However, there are a few restaurants with the reptile already on the menu. Mount Steak restaurant in Prague offers crocodile steak with fresh ginger for 685 Czech crowns, or $34.89.

Once the gradual slaughter begins after the timing of the processing is set, it could take about a year or so for crocodile meat to be found alongside poultry, pastries, and produce in local markets in the Czech Republic.

Agro Jevisovice – Jevisovice 102, Jevisovice

Tel.: +420 515 266 711

http://www.agd-jevisovice.cz/

Mount Steak Restaurant – Kotevní 1, Praha 5

Tel: +420 734 596 186

 http://www.mount-steak.cz/

Jennifer LeeVan is in the NYU Class of 2014, majoring in Broadcast Journalism. Her hometown is Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

Marcia Caceres is in the NYU Class of 2015, majoring in Journalism and Anthropology. Her hometown is Bogota, Colombia.

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Categories: News, Spring 2013 Issue Number 2

Author:The Prague Wandering

The Prague Wandering is an NYU based study abroad webzine- the only one of its kind. It focuses on issues in contemporary Czech culture and the city of Prague, exploring beyond the study abroad bubble.

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