A Chinese city has finally approved legislation to ban eating dogs, cats and other animals over fears of spreading the deadly coronavirus.
The law will take place in the city of Shenzhen, which has a population of about 13 million people, beginning May 1, according to Reuters. The law, drafted on Feb. 25, is the first of its kind in the entire country of China. Since then, the city was waiting on public feedback before enacting it into law. Critics have been advocating for a ban on eating dogs in China for years. The law also bans eating snakes, frogs and turtle meat.
A Shenzhen official previously described the law as the “universal civilization requirement of a modern society.” Thousands of dogs in China are killed, skinned and cooked during the Yulin Dog Meat Festival each year on the summer solstice.
“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,” the city government said in an order. “This ban also responds to the demand and spirit of human civilization.”
Animal welfare groups who advocate the end of eating dogs and cats, such as the Humane Society International, praised the city’s decision.
“Shenzhen is the first city in the world to take the lessons learned from this pandemic seriously and make the changes needed to avoid another pandemic,” said the vice president of the wildlife department for Humane Society International, Teresa M. Telecky. “Shenzhen’s bold steps to stop this trade and wildlife consumption is a model for governments around the world to emulate.”
HSI, an animal advocacy group, also praised the move, the BBC reported.
“This really could be a watershed moment in efforts to end this brutal trade that kills an estimated 10 million dogs and 4 million cats in China every year,” said China policy specialist for HS, Dr. Peter Li.
However, China recently approved measures that place animals in danger in other ways. Recently, China approved the use of bear bile to treat coronavirus patients, Breitbart reported. Bear bile is a digestive fluid extracted from living captive bears and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for a long time.
This latest development comes during the coronavirus pandemic that has swept through China, infecting at least 80,000, but experts believe that number is far too low and that China is lying in order to drum up support for the Communist Party. As a way to limit the spread of the deadly virus, also known as COVID-19, China banned all trade and consumption of wild animals, which some officials believe has helped spread the deadly virus.
“There are so many animal species in nature. In our country alone, there are more than 2,000 kinds of protected wild animal species,” the Shenzhen official said in February. “If the local authority is to produce a list of the wild animals that cannot be eaten, it will be too lengthy and cannot answer the question exactly what animals can be eaten.”
According to Johns Hopkins’ latest tracking data, more than 1 million people have been infected with the virus and more than 58,000 have died from it worldwide, but experts believe those figures could be much higher due to the lack of available testing kits. However, testing kits have been made more available over the past couple of weeks, but they are still in high demand.