A Swiss animal-rights group submitted a petition on Tuesday to the Swiss government containing 17,900 signatures asking elected officials to ban the ‘barbaric’ traditional practice of eating cat meat for Christmas in some rural areas of Switzerland, Reuters reports.
Cats are prepared around the holiday season in a similar style to rabbit--in a white wine and garlic sauce, and may even appear on menus in restaurants, according to Tomi Tomek, founder and president of SOS Chats Noraingue.
Dog meat is often used to make sausage or used in a high-fat remedy for rheumatism.
While there are no statistics on the exact amount of cat and dog meat consumed by the Swiss, Tomek told AFP she suspects that “around three percent of the Swiss secretly eat cat or dog.”
"You can't report it to the police because there's no law against it," Tomek added, speaking of the fact that consumption of dog meat is still legal, although the commercial sale of it is banned nationwide. Farmers are free to kill and eat their own animals.
A 2012 report on pet eating in the Swiss paper Tages Anzeiger called the practice a “cultural matter” and noted that some countries breed dogs specifically for slaughter. Aficionados in the Appenzell and St. Gallen areas are said to favor a beefy breed of dog related to Rottweilers.
Tomek points out that the practice is still very popular in such regions as Lucerne, Appenzell, Jura and in the canton of Bern.
The Swiss parliament rejected a bill banning the eating of household pets back in 1993, but SOS Chats Noiraigue, is encouraged by its successful campaign last year to ban the sale of cat fur.
With the strong indication of public opinion represented by the petition, including support from such notable animal-rights defenders as Brigitte Bardot, SOS Chats now hopes parliament will listen and forbid pet consumption once and for all.