Chinese government heralds the beginning of the end of its national dog meat trade

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs updates their “Directory of Genetic Resources of Livestock and Poultry” by excluding dogs as livestock

In a historic move, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China have excluded dogs from their national “Directory of Genetic Resources of Livestock and Poultry” and have reclassified them as “companion animals”.

The redrafting of the register’s guidelines, which was announced on 8th April, acknowledged public opinion regarding animal welfare and that dogs are internationally recognised as companion animals.

The national register lists animals that permitted to be treated as livestock; animals such as pig and cattle can commercially bred, traded and so on for their meat and fur.

Animals that are not on the list, such as cats and dogs, are therefore classed as “companion animals” in China.

Despite a decade of international opposition against the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival, the Chinese government has done little to address animal welfare concerns within the country.

The COVID-19 outbreak, which has been traced to a wildlife wet market in Wuhan, has been a catalyst for China’s tightening wildlife and animal protection laws.

Just this past February, Shenzhen became the first Chinese city to outright ban dog and cat meat consumption in the city.

Shenzhen, a major economic powerhouse located in Guangdong province — and a stone’s throw from the Hong Kong-China border — cited Hong Kong’s treatment of dogs and cats as the impetus that lead to the new legislation.

Zhuhai, another major city in Guangdong province, followed suit in April and also introduced a city-wide ban on dog and cat meat consumption.