Hundreds of thousands of people in Switzerland eat cat and dog meat, particularly at Christmas, according to a Swiss animal rights group seeking to ban the practice.
SOS Chats Noiragigue is behind a campaign to ban the consumption of cats and dogs, more commonly associated with countries such as China and Vietnam, in the small European country. A petition to parliament has gathered almost 18,000 signatures so far, including actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot.
Founder and president of the group Tomi Tomek told the BBC that 3% of Swiss people eat cat or dog meat, 80% of them being farmers. The Lucerne, Appenzell, Jura and Bern areas are the main culprits.
“One woman gave me a recipe for cooking newborn cat,” Tomek said. “I went to the police, a veterinarian and the government and they all told me that there was no law against it.” She was told to write a petition and try to get a politician to support her. She’s now rallied five to her cause.
Cat meat even features prominently on Christmas menus in some parts of Switzerland, Tomek said, while dog meat is also used to make sausages. “It is an old tradition in Switzerland to eat dog meat like sausages and use dog fat for rheumatism,” she said. “They eat cats because they taste like rabbits.” They are apparently prepared in the same way and best served with white wine and garlic.
“Farmers will eat their cats and dogs when they have too many, says Tomek. “I told them to sterilize the animals but they said it was too costly and it made a good meal.”