Lewes MP Maria Caulfield has co-sponsored an amendment to the Agriculture Bill that would create a distinct crime of consuming cat or dog meat.
The Agriculture Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament, is due to set out the UK’s future agriculture and farming policies ready for Brexit.
Ms Caulfield and a number of other MPs from all sides of the House of Commons have signed an amendment to add a specific crime of eating cats or dogs into the Bill.
The amendment would also cover the transportation, possession or donation of cats and dogs for consumption as well as slaughter for consumption. The proposals would see the crime fetch a maximum of six months in prison or a maximum fine of £5,000.
Ms Caulfield, who is Chairman of the All Party Group on Cats in Parliament, said: “Cats and dogs are much loved pets for millions of people across the country and the idea of eating them will disgust the vast majority of people.
“We want to make sure that eating cats and dogs as well as possessing, transporting or slaughtering them for consumption is a specific crime that will deter people from doing so.
“This proposal has cross party support from dozens of MPs so I am hopeful that this amendment to the Agriculture Bill will be passed into law.”
In Asia, the practice of eating cats and dogs has become less common as pet ownership rises, and new generations have different attitudes to eating domestic animals.
But an estimated 30 million dogs across Asia, including stolen family pets, are still killed for human consumption every year, according to the Humane Society International.
While not widespread, the charity says the practice is most common in China, South Korea, The Philippines, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and the region of Nagaland in India.
Although accurate figures are difficult to obtain, China is believed to be responsible for the majority of global cases of cat and dog slaughter.
Each year, around four million cats and 10 million dogs are believed to be slaughtered in the country. The Humane Society says the majority are stolen pets and strays that are captured and kept in cages.