Did you know that the most commonly used word for cat in Switzerland is the French word “chat?” Did you also know that the definition of the word cat in Switzerland is dinner? At least, according to a BBC survey and animal rights group SOS Chats Noiraigue, approximately 3 percent of Swiss people think it is.
Could you, like, not?
The group is trying to get a government imposed ban on the consumption of domesticated animals in the country on the heels of their successful push to ban the sale of cat fur. While the sale of cat and dog meat is already illegal (which is more than can be said for many U.S. states), there are no protections in place for the private culling of the animals most people consider family members. Basically, if you’re hard pressed for a new dinner idea one night, it’s perfectly cool to invite Mr. Mittens to the table in a non-guest capacity.
What do I think about that? Here, lemme show ya.
While debate rages on about how often this actually happens and how high the numbers of regular cat and dog consumers really are, it brings up fascinating points. For one, a 2013 survey placed consumption of meat in the country that would fall into the “other” category (meat that is not derived from beef, veal, pork, sheep, goats, horse, poultry rabbits or game) at roughly 1 percent (or 240 tons) of total meat consumption. While this sounds like a better number than 3 percent of the total population of Switzerland (that would be roughly 242, 430 people. That’s a lot of pets, people), the relief is short lived when you notice that horse meat is consumed to the tune of 4598 tons per year.
Well, this just gets better and better, doesn’t it?
This begs the question, why do we consider some animals food and some friends? Why is it considered abhorrent to kill one animal for the dinner table, while extolling the intelligence, friendliness and loyalty of another? While the consumption of cats and dogs largely happens in more rural areas as a part of Christmas traditions or as a folk remedy for rheumatism (sorry, but who in the world dreamed that one up? “Man, my knee hurts. Oh, I know, let’s eat Betsy?!”), the fact remains that there are people who see nothing wrong with eating any type of animal. When asked about the cat and dog meat issue in 2012, a farmer located in Switzerland’s Rhine Valley said, “There is nothing odd about it. Meat is meat.”
Oddly, we agree with him on part of his point. Meat is meat, or more specifically, an animal is an animal. Be it a cat, dog, horse, cow, turkey, chicken, pig, etc. All animals have intelligence, feel pain and experience the wide gamut of emotions like happiness, fear and sadness that we do. The verdict is still out on whether or not the ban for private consumption will be imposed in Switzerland, but until it is (which we fervently hope for, by the way), we need to take a look at this issue in the context of the larger one as well.
This story would be bizarre anywhere, but it seems especially out of place for Switzerland. Considering their whole stance on non-interference and their lack of participation in any war since 1815, the peacefulness of the country seems in direct opposition to taking the whole, “it’s so cute I could eat it,” concept to a disturbing level. Our opinion? They should keep their focus on the fine chocolate and leave dogs and cats alone…and horses. Leave them alone too.
Lead Image Credit: Wallpaper Pics