For most folk, Christmas fare usually means ham, turkey, chestnuts, an assortment of cheeses and other such holiday favorites. In some parts of Switzerland, however, a traditional Christmas menu may include two items which animal rights group are demanding be removed from the list: cat and dog.
“Around three percent of the Swiss secretly eat cat or dog. We especially see it in the regions of Lucerne, Appenzell, Jura and in the canton of Bern,” Tomi Tomek, founder and president of animal rights group SOS Chats Noiraigue, told reporters from the Agence France-Presse.
On Tuesday, the activist group submitted a petition signed by 16,000 people to members of Swiss parliament calling for the banning of the consumption of cat and dog meat; animals which are primarily and largely considered pets.
Tomek explained that dog meat is often used in making sausages, and is also an ingredient in the production of a fatty product used in the treatment of rheumatism. Cats, on the other hand, are often cooked much like rabbit – stewed or braised with white wine and garlic – and served for Christmas meals, especially in the areas of Bern and in the Jura and Lucerne.
Aside from cats and dogs, horsemeat is another favorite in many regions of Switzerland.
The animal activist leader said that it is impossible to estimate how many cats and dogs are cooked each year, most especially at Christmastime.
“Presently, we can’t do anything because the law does not forbid people from eating their dog or cat, we can’t even turn in those who engage in this practice,” Tomek said.
“A political leader told us parliament won’t do anything unless people revolt. The Swiss need to take care of this themselves. We are asking simply for a paragraph in the law on protecting domestic animals,” she added.