Shenzhen has officially become the first city in China to ban the consumption of cat and dog meat, reports BBC.
The new law will go into effect on May 1, following China’s late February decision to “ban all consumption of wild animal meat and further restrict the wildlife trade nationwide,” The Guardian shared at the time.
The ban on the consumption of animal meat is a response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic after some of the earliest infections were found in individuals who visited a wildlife market in Wuhan, according to the New York Times.
The Shenzhen government decided to extend the ban to cats and dogs as these pets “have established a much closer relationship with humans than all other animals,” BCC cited government officials via a Reuters report.
Additionally, “banning the consumption of dogs and cats and other pets is a common practice in developed countries and in Hong Kong and Taiwan.”
The proposed change will also fine Shenzhen restaurants found serving dog and cat meat.
Humane Society International UK
Peter Li, the China policy expert for Humane Society International, told BBC that this new law could be a big step in ending dog and cat trading throughout China.
“This really could be a watershed moment in efforts to end this brutal trade that kills an estimated 10 million dogs and 4 million cats in China every year,” he said.
Dog and cat meat consumption is not prevalent in many areas of China but is the most common in Shenzhen’s province of Guangdong and the neighboring province of Guangxi, which is home to the controversial Yulin Dog Meat Festival.
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