China is pushing forward with plans to stop slaughtering millions of dogs for meat every year. The Ministry of Agriculture has finally drawn up new guidelines to will classify dogs as pets rather than livestock.
The new guidelines have revised the list of livestock animals which include pigs, poultry, camels and cattle. Additionally, thirteen animals have been given a special exemption from wild-animal trading restrictions, such as alpaca, pheasants, reindeer, foxes, and ostriches.
Even though dog meat is still considered a special delicacy in some parts of China, the Ministry of Agriculture announced that dogs will no longer be classified as livestock.
The department wrote: “As far as dogs are concerned, along with the progress of human civilization and the public concern and love for animal protection, dogs have been ‘specialized’ to become companion animals, and internationally are not considered to be livestock, and they will not be regulated as livestock in China.”
The first city in China to introduce a permanent ban both on human consumption and the sale of dogs and cats was the city Shenzhen, the home of 12,5 million residents. The new legislation Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Regulations on the Comprehensive Ban on Wild Animals also prohibits the breeding, sale and consumption of wildlife species and it officially goes into effect on May the 1st.
Shenzhen’s government officials 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 civilization.”
Credit: Last Chance for Animals/Vimeo
However, the new legislation does not include animals which are traditionally considered livestock such as cows, sheep, ducks, geese, pigeons, rabbits, pigs, chickens, donkeys even though these animals have been the main spreaders of H1N1 (pigs), H5N1 (geese), and Swine Flu (pigs).
According to the Humane Society International, millions of dogs are killed every year in China due to sale and human consumption. What makes all of this even more disturbing, the city of Yulin is the host of an annual dog meat festival in June, where people hang and skin dogs alive.
Here’s hoping that this declaration will finally put an end to the gruesome treatment of dogs and cats as well as stop the illegal trading and consumption of wildlife.