With the coronavirus pandemic taking lives all over the world and affecting all of our daily lives, it can be hard to see any silver linings in the situation.
Now there’s some huge news: a Chinese city has officially banned eating cats and dogs.
The city of Shenzhen, China introduced the bill in February, proposing to outlaw the consumption of protected animals like dogs, cats, snakes and frogs. According to BBC, the bill passed on Wednesday, set to go into effect on May 1.
“Banning the consumption of wild animals is a common practice in developed countries and is a universal requirement of modern civilization,” a notice said.
The bill was part of a crackdown on “wet markets” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus is believed to have originated from one of these markets selling wildlife meat.
The consumption of household pets like cats and dogs is not common—most Chinese citizens say they have never had it nor intend to. But millions of dogs are killed for meat across Asia every year, and the trade is known to be barbaric: these dogs are often stolen or strays and are treated terribly.
The new law also affirms the status of cats and dogs as household pets.
“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 Shenzhen city government said, according to a Reuters report.
“This ban also responds to the demand and spirit of human civilization.”
According to the bill’s proposal, people found eating protected animals would be fined the equivalent of $3,000 USD, and vendors would be fined over double that amount. While the law applies to just one Chinese city and won’t end the meat trade for good, it could inspire others to enact their own bills.
“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,” Dr Peter Li, China policy specialist for Humane Society International, told BBC.
It’s unfortunate that it took a pandemic to inspire action against this terrible meat trade, but this is still a big win—we hope more cities pass their own bans soon. Share this great news!