MAINZ, Germany — Animal-rights activists in Switzerland want to ban cooked cat and sausages made from dog meat, traditional dishes they claim are still enjoyed by thousands of people. An estimated 1.5 percent of the country's eight million people eat cat and dog — some 120,000 people, according to SOS CHATS Noiraigue. The group has submitted a petition featuring 17,000 signatures to the Swiss parliament. "It is a tradition that is still followed in some remote parts of the country and dates back to war times when food was scarce," Tomi Tomak, the group’s president, told NBC News. "Dog fat is said to be good against rheumatism."
Sales of dog and cat meat are banned in Switzerland and it is difficult to gauge the practice’s popularity. Tomak was unable to say what the 1.5 percent figure is based on. The Swiss Food Safety and Veterinary office said it is legal for people to eat their own animals, but stressed that "domestic animals are generally not consumed in Switzerland so that we cannot speak of a common practice."
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Reuters contributed to this report.