Shenzhen could be the first city in China to ban the consumption of cat and dog meat, reports The Guardian.
According to the outlet, the city recently released a draft of the regulation created to ban the eating of dogs and cats, which is now awaiting approval. This proposed ban comes on the tail of a large country-wide announcement about the consumption of wild animal products.
On Monday, China’s National People’s Congress “issued an order to ban all consumption of wild animal meat and further restrict the wildlife trade nationwide,” per The Guardian, which is expected to become part of the country’s larger wild animal protection law later in 2020.
The ban on the consumption of wild animal meat is a response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, after some of the earliest infections were found in individuals who visited a wildlife market in Wuhan, reports the New York Times.
While Shenzhen’s potential ban on dog and cat meat consumption was announced around the same time as China’s wild animal consumption ban, the city’s government is presenting their ban as a recognition of the strong bond between humans and their pets, not as a reaction to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
“Although the trade in Shenzhen is fairly small compared with the rest of [Guangdong] province, Shenzhen is still a huge city and is larger than Wuhan, so this would be very significant and could even have a domino effect with other cities following.” Peter Li, the China policy expert for Humane Society International, told the New York Times about the effect this city’s proposed ban could have.
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.
Shenzhen’s potential ban is currently in the public comment phase until March 5. There is currently no set date for when a final decision will be made on the draft regulation.
If the ban does pass, Shenzhen would be the first city in China to ban dog and cat meat consumption. In addition to banning dog and cat meat consumption, the proposed change, if approved, would fine Shenzhen restaurants found serving dog and cat meat.