A new legal ban on eating cats and dogs in Britain has been blocked over fears of offending people in the Far East, it has been reported.
The law was drawn up by environment ministers, which would have made possessing dog and cat meat a criminal offence in the UK.
Former environment and food secretary Michael Gove ordered the move in the summer despite the practice being rare here.
Dog groups had persuaded him the move would send a powerful message to South East Asian countries where eating dog meat is rife.
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It would also match a similar law that was passed in the US only last year.
Yet civil servants have now stepped in to apparently halt the ground-breaking move, reports The Sun.
Campaigning Conservative MP Giles Watling was told by the Ministry of Justice the law would be "culturally insensitive" of the government.
Mr Watling told the newspaper: “Dogs are our companion animals. We do not eat them, and that is a very important message to send to the rest of the world.
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“It’s not culturally insensitive because we’re not telling them what to do – we’re just telling them what we do.
“We shouldn’t be worrying about that, so I was surprised that was the MoJ’s objection.”
The bureaucrats also argued it would be difficult to enforce the law and the current ban on transporting or exporting dog and cat meat is suffice.
Eating dog is already banned in Germany, Austria, Taiwan, South Australia and Hong Kong.
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Around 30 million dogs a year are slaughtered to be eaten across China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
These countries consider dog meat to be both a delicacy and a health tonic.
But the World Dog Alliance mounted a campaign in the UK last year for a full ban on any activity relating to the eating of dogs.
A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: “We currently have some of the strongest animal welfare laws in the world.
"The government is currently considering whether any changes are needed in this area in the UK and will set out any plans in due course.”
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