THERESA May faces urgent calls to ban the eating of dogs in Britain after campaigners warned the sick practice is on the rise.

An international canine welfare group fears immigration from the Far East is secretly spreading it across Europe. Despite widespread public revulsion with the habit elsewhere in the world, neither killing dogs to eat nor consuming their meat is illegal in Britain.

A total ban on the import, trade and consumption of dog meat is about to be enacted across America by the US Congress next month after similar concerns about its increase there.

The government is being urged to repeat the US ban here, and the move last night won the backing of a series of senior MPs. The World Dog Alliance will launch a nationwide campaign in the UK for a full ban on any interaction with dog meat in the Autumn.

The WDA’s Kike Yuen told The Sun last night: “In the US, people who eat dog meat are mainly immigrants from Asia. With three million immigrants from East Asia in the UK, we cannot deny this situation exists here too”.

Mr Yeun added: “We also believe legislation against dog meat in UK would provide us with strength to continue our work in Asia, as the UK could influence other countries to stop dog meat consumption. Most of them usually refused to do so with the excuse that there is no such law in Western countries”.

It is still legal to kill dogs and eat them in the UK, as long as they are killed in a way that does not cause suffering. Though the practice has been taboo across much of Europe for a century, there is also no specific ban on buying or selling dog meat either.

Dog lover and Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan last night dubbed a full ban “absolutely right”. Sir Alan, who owns a prize-winning cockapoo called Noodle, 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.”

The chair of the All-party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group Lisa Cameron MP added: “I very much support a ban on dog meat consumption in the UK, and urge the Government to look at this as a matter of urgency. We must be culturally sensitive, but I do not believe the general public would approve of the practice at all.”

The SNP MP added: “Dogs are sentient beings and we value them very highly as pets. The last thing we want is dog farms here”.

An estimated 30 million dogs a year are slaughtered to be eaten, across China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Most are stolen off the street. Their meat it is considered both a delicacy and a health tonic.

In China, 20 per cent of the population still eat dog meat - some because of the superstitious belief that it is a health tonic - and the country accounts for half the annual slaughter.

In South Korea, 60 per cent of people eat dog meat regularly, and 5 million dogs are slaughtered each year to feed their appetite. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs last night refused to comment.