China made its plans to move away from slaughtering millions of dogs every year.
The Ministry of Agriculture has released new guidelines declaring that dogs are pets and not livestock.
In a statement, the department wrote:
“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.”
According to authorities, the guidelines have edited the list of 18 animals that are legally accepted as livestock, which include cattle, pigs, poultry and camels.
Thirteen animals were given a special exemption from wild-animal trading restrictions, such as reindeer, alpaca, pheasants, ostriches, and foxes.
Dog meat is still seen as a delicacy in China and there are several regions where the trade thrives.
However, Shenzhen, a city that boasts more than 12.5 million residents, was the first to introduce a permanent ban on the sale and human consumption of dog and cat meat.
Lawmakers described that the ruling is a universal civilization requirement for a modern society.
A spokesperson for the Shenzhen government said in a statement:
“Dogs and cats as pets have established a much closer relationship with humans than all other animals, and banning the consumption of dogs and cats and other pets is a common practice in developed countries and in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
“This ban also responds to the demand and spirit of human civilization.”
Reports said that Shenzhen’s new ruling on cat and dog meat will be a permanent ban. On the flipside, citizens will still be able to eat pigs, cows, sheep, donkeys, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, and pigeons.
In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, China declared a temporary ban on wild animal markets to prevent people from being infected.
The country has promised to take a look at the ban once the pandemic settles down and identify if it should be upgraded to permanent.
According to data from Humane Society International, millions of dogs are killed every year in China for human consumption.
The city of Yulin in the Guangxi region hosts a yearly dog meat festival in the month of June, which always attracts criticism from the international community.
This declaration made by China’s Ministry of Agriculture only shows that the country is moving in the right direction, and is leaning towards protecting more dogs from being killed.