The Ministry of Agriculture announced that dogs will no longer serve aslivestock, a term designated for animals bred for the purposes of food, milk,fibre, fur, and medicine production. Still, dog meat continues to be consumedin several Chinese regions.

“As far as dogs are concerned, along with the progress of human civilisationand the public concern and love for animal protection, dogs have been‘specialised’ to become companion animals, and internationally are notconsidered to be livestock, and they will not be regulated as livestock inChina,”

The novel coronavirus outbreak is believed to have originated in horseshoebats that were for sale in China’s Wuhan market. However, it is plausible thatthe virus transmission to humans was via intermediary species, such as catsand 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 nowlifted – but had promised to pass relevant legislation to make the banpermanent.

A new draft listing 18 traditional livestock species and 13 “special” specieswas released on Wednesday. The conventional livestock species include camels,pigs, poultry, and cattle. The 13 “special” species that would also be exemptfrom the wild animal trade restrictions include alpaca, foxes, pheasants,ostriches, and reindeer.

The consumption of dog meat in China has grown increasingly unpopular, withShenzhen being the first city to implement the ban last month.

Nevertheless, Humane Society International estimates that about 10 milliondogs are still killed every year in China for their meat, including abductedpets. For example, Yulin, a city in the region of Guangxi, annually hosts adog 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 protectionin China.”

Image: In this Sunday, June 21, 2015 photo, dogs in cages are sold by vendorsat a market during a dog meat festival in Yulin in south China’s GuangxiZhuang Autonomous Region. Restaurateurs in a southern Chinese town are holdingan annual dog meat festival despite international criticism. (Chinatopix viaAP) CHINA OUT (The Associated Press)

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