An animal rights group has petitioned the Swiss government to ban a traditional, if rare, practice of eating cats for dinner and turning dogs into sausages.

Tomi Tomek, president of the animal rights group SOS CHATS Noiraigue, which campaigned successfully last year to ban the sale of cat fur, said 3% of the population still eat cat and dog, mainly in the regions of Appenzell, Lucerne, Jura and Berne.

"You can't report it to the police because there's no law against it," she said.

Dog meat is traditionally used to make sausages and a fatty remedy for rheumatism, while cat can be served for Christmas dinner.

The Swiss are also among the world's biggest consumers of horse meat.

It is impossible to say how many dogs and cats end up in Swiss cooking pots every year, according to the activists.

"A political leader told us parliament won't do anything unless people revolt," Ms Tomek said.

"The Swiss need to take care of this, themselves."

"Presently, we can't do anything because the law does not forbid people from eating their dog or cat, we can't even turn in those who engage in this practice."

Her group, which gathered a 16,000-name petition to outlaw the eating of pets, forced a ban on the sales of cat fur in 2013.

Notable signers of the petition include French actress Brigitte Bardot, who has dedicated her life to fighting for animal rights.

"We are asking simply for a paragraph in the law on protecting domestic animals," Ms Tomek said.