The Ministry of Agriculture announced that dogs will no longer serve as livestock, a term designated for animals bred for the purposes of food, milk, fibre, fur, and medicine production. Still, dog meat continues to be consumed in several Chinese regions.
“As far as dogs are concerned, along with the progress of human civilisation and the public concern and love for animal protection, dogs have been ‘specialised’ to become companion animals, and internationally are not considered to be livestock, and they will not be regulated as livestock in China,”
The novel coronavirus outbreak is believed to have originated in horseshoe bats that were for sale in China’s Wuhan market. However, it is plausible that the virus transmission to humans was via intermediary species, such as cats and dogs, who were also sold for consumption in the same markets.
Since then, China put in motion a temporary ban on wild animal trade, including practices of breeding, trading, and consumption – which has now lifted – but had promised to pass relevant legislation to make the ban permanent.
A new draft listing 18 traditional livestock species and 13 “special” species was released on Wednesday. The conventional livestock species include camels, pigs, poultry, and cattle. The 13 “special” species that would also be exempt from the wild animal trade restrictions include alpaca, foxes, pheasants, ostriches, and reindeer.
The consumption of dog meat in China has grown increasingly unpopular, with Shenzhen being the first city to implement the ban last month.
However, the Humane Society International, estimated that around 10 million dogs a year are still killed in China for meat, including stolen pets. The city of Yulin in the region of Guangxi holds an annual dog meat festival in June.
Nevertheless, Humane Society International estimates that about 10 million dogs are still killed every year in China for their meat, including abducted pets. For example, Yulin, a city in the region of Guangxi, annually hosts a dog meat festival every June.
Wendy Higgins, a spokesperson for Humane Society International told Reuters,
“This draft proposal could signal a game-changer moment for animal protection in China.”