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Retired Lucerne man defends eating cats

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Image of Bühlmann from SRF documentary, Das Tier und Wir (Animals and Us). Photo: SRF
11:33 CET+01:00
A 72-year-old Lucerne man maintains he likes eating cats because of their taste, according to a TV documentary set to air this week on the Swiss German-language network SRF1 that underscores the fact that eating cats and dogs remains legal in Switzerland.

“The meat of a cat is rather pleasant and easy to digest,” Martin Bühlmann, who is featured in the documentary set to air on Thursday, told the SonntagsBlick newspaper.

Bühlmann, a former wildlife hunter, also admits to eating badger and fox meat.

He said it was just as reasonable to eat cat meat as sushi or seafood from afar.

“I grew up in modest circumstances in a large family, it was normal to catch cats and my mother cooked them on a spit,” he told the Sunday paper.

Bühlmann said he saw no difference between the meat of domestic animals and livestock and maintained killing animals raised as pets was no different also.

“It’s not so different from a chicken, the important thing is that when you shoot the animal it doesn’t suffer.”

There are no studies showing that cat and dog meat are unsuitable for human consumption, Le Matin newspaper said.

“Everything depends on what they are eating,” a Lausanne nutritionist told the daily.

“You would need to take into account the intrinsic qualities of the animal to know if it is healthy meat.”

But the continued practice of eating cats in Switzerland has upset Tomi Tomek, head of the SOS Chats animal protection group.

Tomek, who has collected more than 85,000 signatures for a petition to ban the practice, is not surprised to learn of Bühlmann’s testimonial.

Eating cats has a long tradition in Switzerland but it has to stop, she maintains.

“In Saint Imier (in the canton of Bern) a family of farmers gather each year to eat cat meat,” Tomek told Le Matin.

“They even have a special recipe for young kittens — more tender — that they let cook all night in milk with thyme and rosemary,” she said.

“It’s a sort of old tradition that continues in many other cantons, Appenzell, Thurgau and Ticino.”

Tomek added that it was shocking that eating cats was not banned in Switzerland.

Under Swiss law cat meat is not illegal provided its use is strictly private.  

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