China has drawn up new guidelines that reclassify dogs as pets rather than livestock in response to the outbreak of covid-19 that the Humane Society called a “game-changer” for animal welfare.
While dogs remain a delicacy in many regions throughout China, the new designation means they are no longer classified as livestock – a term that covers animals that are used for food, milk, fur, medicine, or to serve the military in China.
The Ministry of Agriculture said in a notice:
“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.”
After the outbreak of the coronavirus, China temporarily banned the breeding, trading, and consumption of wildlife in addition to a promise to revise legislation with a view to making the move permanent.
The southern Chinese city of Shenzhen became the first in China to ban dog consumption as it becomes increasingly unpopular throughout the country.
Nevertheless, approximately 10 million dogs are consumed in China every year with an annual dog meat festival held in the city of Yulin.
Wendy Higgins, a Humane Society International spokeswoman feels that this new proposal could change animal well-being in the country, saying:
“This draft proposal could signal a game-changer moment for animal protection in China.”