The southern Chinese technology hub of Shenzhen is moving to ban the consumption of dogs and cats. A few days ago, China already banned all wildlife trade in an attempt to control the coronavirus.
“Banning the consumption of wild animals is a common practice in developed countries and is a universal requirement of modern civilization,” the Shenzhen government said in a notice. The document recognized dogs and cats as pets and not food.
Nine animals will still be allowed to be eaten: sheep, donkeys, ducks, geese, pigeons, pigs, chickens, cows and rabbits.
Snakes, turtles and frogs and many other animals were excluded from the approved list. The proposal noted there are more than 2000 species of protected wildlife in China.
A ban on eating dog and cat meat in Shenzhen would be “extremely welcome,” said Peter Li, China policy expert for the animal welfare group Humane Society International.
“Although the trade in Shenzhen is fairly small compared with the rest of province, Shenzhen is still a huge city and is larger than Wuhan, so this would be very significant and could even have a domino effect with other cities following,” Li said.
Those caught eating protected animals would be fined up to 20,000 yuan ($2,850) and up to 2,000 yuan ($285) for non-protected animals, according to the draft. Shops serving protected meat face fines of up to 50,000 yuan ($7125). The public will have a week, until Thursday, to respond to the draft.
Shenzhen’s proposal follows a decision by the central government on Monday for an immediate ban in the trade and consumption of wild animals, after an initial suspension in January.
The State Forestry and Grassland Administration is also moving to expand the scope of protected wildlife, and will revoke licenses for wildlife breeding organizations found to be breeding for consumption, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.