Last week the Chinese city of Shenzhen, the fifth largest in the country, banned the consumption and sale of dog meat.
Humane Society International (HSI)), who have long campaigned against the consumption of dog meat in China, hailed the move as a potential ‘game changer’
Now a statement has been released by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. This statement (obviously issued in Chinese) makes a key point of regarding dogs as companion animals and not to be considered as livestock, as many (illegal) traders seem to think.
OUR DOGS has obtained a translation which we reprint here as it has been received:
‘The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China released an announcement on 8th April 2020, asking for public feedback on the draft of the Animal Husbandry Law of the People’s Republic of China.
‘In the draft list, dogs are excluded from livestock but regarded as companion animals. Traditional forms of livestock as officially defined by the ministry now include pig, cow, zebu, buffalo, yak, gayal, sheep, goat, horse, donkey, camel, rabbit, chicken, duck, goose, turkey, pigeon and quail etc. Special species now include sika, red deer, reindeer, alpaca, guinea fowl, pheasant, partridge, mallard, ostrich, mink, silver fox, blue fox and raccoon dog.
‘Opinion is divided in response to the change in the categorisation of dogs. While the majority is supportive of such a change, some show opposition. Supporters claimed that dogs are humans’ friends in many ways where they are able to serve as rescue dogs and sniffer dogs, hence should not be simply treated as edible cattle. On the other hand, people who disagreed regarded differentiating dogs from other forms of livestock like cows and pigs as unfair.
‘There are practical implications following this announcement - experts within the industry expect an official ban from consuming dog meat, in press (sic). As soon as the exclusion of dogs from livestock is legalised, cities like Shenzhen could implement regional restriction that stops citizens from consuming dog meat better with enhanced legal support. In the past, dog meat consumers justified their behaviour by claiming that dogs have long been ‘one of the six traditional Chinese livestock’. This justification might no longer stand when dogs are now legally categorised as companion animals.
‘It is unsurprising that opposition arose when Shenzhen introduced an official ban against consuming dog and cat meat, since a huge number of people involved that illegally slaughtered and transported dogs for sale would lose their living. However, many more cities are likely to follow the policy introduced in Shenzhen if the Animal Husbandry Law is successfully enforced, since they are provided with a strong legal basis for doing so.
‘How to give feedback:
‘Members of the public are welcome to give feedback through:
‘3. Phone: 010-59191471
‘The deadline is on 8th May, 2020.’
A comment received from China also stated, “Dogs are companion animals. Restricting one from consuming dog meat is an indication of civilisation. We hope to see improvements across cities in the form of more well-implemented animal protection laws. A fair system that rightfully punishes irresponsible owners who abandon their pets and illegal dealers that slaughter dogs for sale should also be in place.”
A spokesman for the Ministry said, ‘As far as dogs are concerned, along with the progress of human civilisation and the public concern and love for animal protection, dogs have been specialised to become companion animals, and internationally are not considered to be livestock, and they will not be regulated as livestock in China.’
Wendy Higgins a spokesperson for the Humane Society told Reuters, ‘This draft proposal could