Campaigners have called on Theresa May to ban the eating of dogs in Britain after claiming the disturbing practice is on the rise across Europe.
International canine welfare group, the World Dog Alliance (WDA), is launching a campaign in the UK this Autumn for a full ban on dog meat consumption.
Although the habit of eating canines is met with revulsion in most countries around the world, killing dogs to eat and consuming their meat is legal in Britain.
The Hong Kong based WDA believes immigration from the Far East is secretly spreading the habit of eating canines across Europe.
In America, a total ban on the import, trade and consumption of dog meat, which was promoted by the WDA, is about to be put in place by US Congress and has won the backing of a series of senior MPs.
In a statement, the WDA said: 'The UK is the first country in the world which enacts the Animal Welfare Act. It is unfortunate to see dog meat consumption being legal in this nation. The WDA believes a legal ban on eating dog meat would allow the UK to continue to have a global leading role in the field of animal protection, especially after UK leaves the EU.
'Local citizens in the Western countries barely eat dog meat, but the WDA worries that dog meat consumption may be spread to UK with immigration. In the US, people who eat dog meat are mainly immigrants from Asia.'
Downing Street said it will be examining the decision made by US Congress but did not clarify if it would support a ban.
Theresa May's official spokesman told a Westminster media briefing: 'The commercial trade in dog meat in the UK is illegal, but we will look closely at the decision taken in the US.
'Britain is a nation of animal lovers and we continue to have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world. We wish to maintain that.'
Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan, who owns a prize-winning cockapoo called Noodle, has urged the Prime Minister to tackle the issue.
Last night he dubbed a full ban 'absolutely right',The Sun reported.
Sir Alan said: 'There is no need in the modern world for this disgusting habit. We should nip it in the bud now to make sure the practice never takes off here. A civilised country is decent to animals, so let's be fully decent here.'
Chairman of the All-party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group Lisa Cameron MP is one of those supporting the ban on dog meat consumption.
She said: 'We are urging the Government to bring in a ban. We are concerned by the World Dog Alliances' report about dog food consumption in the UK.
'We want to send out a strong message that people don't want to see it here in the UK.'
The RSPCA has dismissed the idea that dog meat consumption is on the rise as its says existing legislation in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 prevents the widespread practice of it.
In a statement, the RSPCA, said: 'It is illegal to sell dog meat to the public in the UK. There are also no abattoirs that have a licence to kill dogs and it would be against slaughter and animal welfare legislation too. So, while dog meat eating is not specifically banned here these laws mean that there is effectively a ban on the practice.'
'The RSPCA has no evidence that dog meat eating is on the rise in the UK, nor have we ever received any reports on this issue. While we do not believe it happens here, we continue to monitor the situation.'
An estimated 30 million dogs a year are slaughtered to be eaten, across China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia - with most stolen off the street. Dog meat it is considered both a delicacy and a health tonic.
US Congress made its decision to ban the import, trade and consumption of dog meat after concerns that immigration from the Far East had seen it increase.
The WDA has also been urging Asian countries to ban dog meat consumption.