Potentially hundreds of thousands of people in Switzerland eat cats and dogs, an animal rights group has claimed after launching a petition to ban the practice.
Campaigners claim a quarter of a million people indulge in the ‘traditional but secretive’ consumption of domesticated animals, with dog meat used mainly in sausages while cat meat is cooked with herbs and stewed in white wine, according to The Times.
But the petition has collected more than 16,000 signatures demanding that legislators stop the practice in certain regions of the country including Berne, Lucerne and Jura.
SOS-Chats Noiraigue has begged the parliament in Berne to outlaw the consumption of domestic cats and dogs, with felines particularly popular for Christmas-time consumption.
Tomi Tomek, the German founder of the organisation managed last year to ban the sale of cat fur, helped by supporters including Brigitte Bardot who has devoted her life to helping animals.
“These animals form part of a family; they must not end up on a dinner plate,” said Ms Tomek. “Around three per cent of the Swiss secretly eat cat or dog.”
But one farmer told Swiss paper Le Matin, “here is nothing odd about eating dogs.”
“The way we prepare it, it tastes like any other meat, and no one knows what they are eating anyway,” he added.
The wife of the Swiss ambassador said the high price of meat in the country could explain the practise of preying on pooches. She said the most preferred breed was one related to the Rottweiler but that cats were more popular.
“They put several cats in the pot. Young ones are more tender,” said an SOS-Chats spokeswoman in an interview with French radio station RTL. She said that unlike some more acceptable forms of meat, cats were not eaten openly even if recipes were shared amongst communities.
Calling the practise “barbaric and outdated” she said she was confident that the parliament would put forward legislation to outlaw the practise. For while the sale of cat and dog meat is legal, the slaughter of cats and dogs for consumption is illegal.
There was a belief among the movement that Swiss furriers were conducting cat-napping raids across the French border, which they say the ban on the sale of feline pelts has halted.
Former MEP Godfrey Bloom, who made a speech in the European Parliament over fellow EU countries eating horses, was unimpressed by the news.
He told Breitbart London: “We used to have Swiss chocolate cats on the christmas tree as a lad. I fear the soft centred ones might not have been quite what we thought.”