In Switzerland, activists handed materials and leaflets to politicians outside the Swiss parliament in Bern on Tuesday November 26. The leaflets read either “Wirforderneinneues “Gesetzgegen den Handel und Verzehr von Hunde- und Katzenfleisch in der Schweiz” or “Nous demandonsune nouvelle loicontre le commerce et la consommation de viande de chiens et chats en Suisse.”
Translated, the flyers say “We call for a new Law against trafficking and consumption of dog and cat meat in Switzerland ” and “We demand a new law against trade and dog meat consumption and cats in Switzerland” respectively.
The protesters aim to make eating cats and dogs illegal.
Unlike some Asian countries, the practice may not immediately be something you associate with Switzerland.
In most of Western Europe, eating dog and cat meat is considered taboo – mostly because of humane reasons and an attachment to the animals as pets. But in Switzerland, things are quite different.
The country has a more liberal view towards meat consumption. It’s even not rare to find horse on the menu in many parts of the country. In some rural areas, cat and dog meat is eaten often on Christmas.
Two years ago, Swiss newspaper TagesAnzeiger reported that the practice continues in the rural areas of central and eastern Switzerland. There may be no commercial slaughterhouses for cats and dogs but farmers kill the animals themselves.
“Unmentionable Cuisine,” a book by Calvin Schwabe published in 1979 about taboo food around the world, described in detail the Swiss recipe for dried dog meat (GedörrtesHundefleisch). And in 2008, The Independent spoke to a farmer who said cats are cooked with thyme. There were also other accounts that suggest that they taste like rabbits.
According to SOS Chats Noiraigue, the organization behind the campaign to ban the practice,they have collected about 16,000 signatures. If their members can eventually get at least 50,000 signatures supporting their campaign, they may be able to force a referendum on the issue due to Switzerland’s system of direct democracy.
“Around 3 percent of the Swiss secretly eat cat or dog,” TomiTomek, founder and president of SOS Chats Noiraigue, told AFP. “A political leader told us parliament won’t do anything unless people revolt.”
Tomek had been successful with similar movements. In 2013, she was able to force a ban on the sale of cat fur in the country. However, Swiss politicians have already encountered this question.In 1993, TagesAnzeiger notes that a petition with 6,000 signatures circulated. In the end, Swiss politicians decided it was a something that should come down to the “ethical sensibility” of each person.
Source: Washington Post