The agricultural ministry of China has reclassified dogs as pets in a move meant to discourage feeding on dogs. The government declassified dogs as livestock, a classification that legalized eating of dogs in China.
“As far as dogs are concerned, a long 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 ate not considered to be livestock, and they will not be regulated as livestock in China. ” the ministry statement read.
The reclassification has come at a time when the world is under threat by the novel coronavirus believed to have come from bats before being passed on to humans by other animals on sale at the Wuhan Seafood Market, the virus ground zero.
Apart from removing dogs from the lists of livestock, the government has also banned the sale and consumption of wildlife and cancelled all the licences previously given to traders. The government further promised to enact legislations that will permanently ban the consumption of wild animals.
The Humane Society international estimates that over 10 million dogs are eaten in China every year, with some cities such as Yulin holding annual dog eating festivals.
While dog eating is increasingly becoming less popular in China, Humane Society International believes that the law will accelerate departure from the deeply entrenched culture.