Shenzhen city in China has banned the eating of dogs and cats as part of a broader restriction on the wildlife trade since the emergence of the pandemic coronavirus.
Scientists suspect the coronavirus passed to humans from animals. Some of the earliest infections were found in people who had exposure to a wildlife market in the central city of Wuhan, where bats, snakes, civets, and other animals were sold.
The deadly virus has infected 936,438 and killed 47,251 people across the globe as of April 2, 2020.
Southern Chinese technology hub authorities said the ban on eating dogs and cats would be imposed on May 1.
“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 posted on Wednesday.
“This ban also responds to the demand and spirit of human civilisation.”
The top legislature in China announced late February it was banning the trade and consumption of wild animals.
Shenzhen city in China bans eating of cats and dogs after pandemic
Local provincial and city governments have been complying on the ruling, but it is the Shenzhen city that explicitly extended the ban on cats and dogs.
Shenzhen Center for Disease Prevention and Control Liu Jianping official said the country’s supplies of poultry, livestock, and seafood were sufficient for consumers.
“There is no evidence showing that wildlife is more nutritious than poultry and livestock,” Liu was quoted as saying by the state-owned media Shenzhen Daily.
“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 Teresa M. Telecky, the vice president of the wildlife department for Humane Society International.
“Shenzhen’s bold steps to stop this trade and wildlife consumption is a model for governments around the world to emulate.”
In the Philippines, eating dog meat was also a practice. Though there is no law explicitly banning the eating of dog meat, the amended Meat Inspection Code of the Philippines (RA 10536), meat from dogs, and other “non-food” animals are considered “hot meat” and cannot be sold or distributed.