Second City In China Bans Consumption Of Dogs And Cats
23 Sept 2021 by Agi Kaja

The city of Zhuhai in China's southern Guangdong province has permanently banned the consumption of dog and cat meat.

Zhuhai follows the example of Shenzhen that banned eating cat and dog meat a week ago. 

The move has been welcomed by animal rights campaigners who hope that it would encourage other cities to follow the example of Shenzhen and lead to a national ban. 

The ban is a part of new food safety regulations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that will come into effect on May 1. 

The new measures also prohibit the consumption of some wild animals. 

The coronavirus outbreak has played an important role in the dog and cat meat bans, even though these animals have not been linked to the spread of the virus. According to World Health Organisation, there is no evidence that pets transmit the disease. 

"I think certainly the context for these bans is China's revision of its food safety regulations in the wake of COVID-19, that's the basis of the national government statement on the livestock list, and the reason why Shenzhen advanced its wildlife consumption ban," Wendy Higgins, a spokesperson for Humane Society International, told Newsweek.

"But the reason stated by Shenzhen for adding in dogs and cats, even though they are not implicated in coronavirus at all, is specifically in recognition of their special status as companion animals.

"I think something else is also going on here and that is that these cities are using this opportunity to reflect the mood of the majority of the Chinese people, most of whom of course don't eat dogs and cats," she said.

Animal rights organisations hope that the latest proposals followed by many Chinese cities could create the proper conditions for a national ban on dog and cat meat consumption.

"Proposals for national dog and cat meat bans have come and gone in the past, so this is perhaps a new approach that could lead to city by city bans. If we do reach a critical mass of cities, that could in itself encourage a national ban, but it's probably premature to predict that right now," Higgins told Newsweek.

It is estimated that 10 million dogs and 4 million cats are killed for meat in China. Most of them are stolen pets and stray animals. 

"Zhuhai's ban on dog and cat meat eating is thrilling news for all those in China and around the world who have campaigned for so long to end this brutal trade," Higgins said. 

"Now it would seem that in the absence of a national ban, cities are taking matters into their own hands and reflecting the mood of the people.

"This isn't just good news for animal protection; it's also very good news for public health because the dog meat trade poses a significant human health risk, linked to the spread of trichinellosis, cholera and rabies. Rabies has been found in dogs traded for human consumption in China, Vietnam and Indonesia, and is easily spread as thousands of dogs are crammed on slaughter trucks and driven across provincial borders to markets and slaughterhouses," she said.

23 Sept 2021
Agi Kaja

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