Eating Fido – or Tiddles – might be more commonly associated with China and Vietnam, but rustling up a slice of cured dog meat to enjoy as a snack is not unusual in rural areas of central and eastern Switzerland, Tages Anzeiger claims.
There are no statistics on the number of dogs and cats killed every year in Switzerland and social disapproval of dog-eating means the practice is shrouded in secrecy. No commercial abattoirs slaughter dogs or cats, but farmers in the Appenzell and St Gallen cantons in German-speaking Switzerland often slaughter the animals themselves.
The most popular breed of dog for eating is a close relative of the Rottweiler.
"There's nothing odd about it", one farmer in the Rhine Valley said. "Meat is meat."
Another farmer, from Appenzell, tells of how he knocks dogs out with a club before slaughtering them and handing them to a butcher friend for preparation. A perplexed dog and cat-eater protested to the reporter that the practice never used to be frowned upon.
Animal welfare campaigner Hansuli Huber, spokesperson for the Swiss Society for the Protection of Animals, told Tages Anzeiger that modern people "could no longer imagine eating pets." Yet previous attempts to ban the practice have failed.
In 1993 6,000 people signed a petition calling for dogs and cats to be protected, but Swiss lawmakers decided that the question should remain a matter for personal conscience.