In a move that’s long overdue, China has announced new guidelines, classifying dogs as pets, rather than livestock.
Ordinarily, millions of dogs every year are slaughtered for meat across the country, which has long drawn widespread criticism from the rest of the world, who have called for China to eradicate the practice.
Now, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture are pushing forward with plans to ensure this senseless butchering is a thing of the past.
The department said in a statement, “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 new guidelines list 18 animals as accepted livestock, including cattle, pigs, poultry and camels. Thirteen animals have been given exemptions from wild animal trading, including reindeer, alpaca and ostriches.
Shenzhen, a city with a population of over 12 million people, became the first Chinese city to implement a total ban of sale and human consumption of cat and dog meat.
A spokesperson for the Shenzhen government said: “Dogs and cats as pets have established a much closer relationship with humans than all other animals, and banning the consumption of dogs and cats and other pets is a common practice in developed countries and in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
“This ban also responds to the demand and spirit of human civilisation.”
Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in the markets of Wuhan, a temporary ban was placed on wild animal markets to help prevent further infection. The government have promised to look into making this ban permanent once the pandemic begins to ease.