Eating cats and dogs is legal in seven states and territories in Australia, with South Australia being the only one to have a law prohibiting it.
But Michele Brown, a member of the Fight Dog Meat group, has launched a petition demanding that changes.
Fight Dog Meat is a registered charity in Australia which opposes the slaughter and consumption of dogs or cats for the use of food or fur.
The petition, which was supposed to be sent to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull before the leadership spill, currently has 5,203 supporters with a goal of 6,000.
‘In 2018 the slaughter and eating of dog and cat meat is allowable and legal in all states except South Australia, which definitively prohibits its consumption,’ Ms Brown wrote in the petition.
‘Current laws in the other states and territories of Australia do not prevent slaughter and/or human consumption of dogs and cats for personal use.
‘Australian pet owners should not have to live in fear of their loved family pet being taken for dog or cat meat, as local animal lovers living in dog and cat eating countries are forced to live with on a daily basis.’
Jim Dodds, chief executive officer of Stones Corner-based Safe Food Production in Queensland, said that personal consumption of cat and dog meat is not illegal if the animal was slaughtered in a humane way.
‘In Queensland, and most other states and territories, personal consumption of cat or dog meat is not illegal provided the slaughter is undertaken humanely by an individual for their own consumption,’ Mr Dodds said to The Gold Coast Bulletin.
‘However, the supply – including sale – of cat and dog meat is prohibited in all Australian jurisdictions. This is because the production or processing of meat from cats or dogs is not authorised under national standards governing meat production and processing, which are given effect in Queensland’s Meat Food Safety Scheme under the Food Production (Safety) Act 2000.
‘Consequently, there is no industry in Queensland for the supply of cat and dog meat and we are not aware of any evidence of the consumption of cat and dog meat in Queensland.’
Ms Brown said there was absolutely no way to humanely kill cats and dogs for consumption.
‘Asian and African methods of dog and cat meat slaughter such as beating the animal to death, boiling them alive, stabbing them in the chest, neck or belly, skinning them alive, hanging them from a branch, electrocuting them in the genitals or anus, are all in direct opposition to Australian animal anti-cruelty laws,’ Ms Brown said.
‘Dog meat eaters demand meat to be tough in texture which is brought about through flooding the conscious animal’s body with adrenaline up until death or loss of consciousness, by inflicting acute pain or terror to the live animal.
‘This is considered offensive behaviour in mainstream Australian society and in complete opposition to Australia’s anti-cruelty laws.’
The RSPCA says consuming cat and dog meat is against ‘Australian values’ and should be made illegal.
‘RSPCA Australia believes the consumption of cat and dog meat should be expressly prohibited in statute. Cats and dogs hold a specific place in Australian society as companion animals,’ the RSPCA said.
‘Eating cats and dogs is therefore offensive to mainstream Australian cultural values. RSPCA Australia believes that state governments should follow the lead of South Australia and create specific offences for eating cats and dogs, either within their animal welfare legislation, or within their general criminal legislation.’