Lawmakers on Capitol Hill advanced a proposal last week that had some Americas scratching their heads and others wagging their tails. While it may seem unnecessary to some, the United States Congress has proposed legislation to outlaw dog and cat consumption — but not because Americans are eating their pets.

The proposed measure is to support international animal rights activists.

If passed, the ban would send a clear signal that the United States condemns the dog and cat meat trades in East Asia, said Sara Amundson, executive director of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Here’s more from the Washington Post:

The Humane Society estimates that 30 million dogs are killed for food each year, mostly in China and South Korea. Activists there have questioned why the United States does not have its own dog meat law.

Documented cases of dog and cat consumption in the United States are rare. A database search of 10 years of U.S. newspaper articles turned up a single case from 2008, when two maintenance workers at a Hawaii golf club were accused of stealing a German shepherd-Lab mix from a man who was golfing there, then later eating it.

Only four incidents have been widely reported in the past three decades. 

But the animal rights activists raised concerns that, in the absence of a specific ban, such a practice could theoretically continue in secret. Only six states explicitly ban dog- and cat-eating: Georgia, Hawaii, Michigan, New York, Virginia and California. In other states, animal welfare laws have been used to prosecute isolated instances of dog slaughter and consumption.

The measure would make it a felony to knowingly slaughter, buy or sell a dog or cat to eat. Violations would be punishable by a fine or up to a year in prison.

“I think when it comes to laws protecting animals, it’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Ashley Byrne at PETA. “Most of us would prefer to see a law in place that would prevent something cruel from happening to animals — we want this to be illegal.”

Can you imagine? Who on Earth would eat a cat or a dog?