Shenzhen has become the first Chinese city to ban the sale and consumption of dog and cat meat.
This comes after the coronavirus outbreak has been linked to the meat of wild animals, prompting Chinese authorities to ban the trade and consumption of wild animals.
Shenzhen went further by extending the ban to dogs and cats. The new law will come into force on May 1.
According to the Humane Society International (HSI), thirty million dogs are killed each year in Asia for their meat.
However, the practice of eating dog meat in China is not so common – the majority of Chinese have never done so and say they do not want to.
“Dogs and cats as pets have established a much closer relationship with humans than all other animals, and the ban on the consumption of dogs and cats and other pets is a common practice in developed countries and in Hong Kong and Taiwan, “said the city government of Shenzhen. , according to a Reuters report.
“This ban also responds to the demand and the spirit of human civilization. “
- The race to find the source of coronavirus in wildlife
The animal rights organization HSI welcomed this decision.
“This could truly be a defining moment in efforts to end this brutal trade that kills around 10 million dogs and 4 million cats in China each year,” said Dr. Peter Li, Chinese policy specialist for HSI .
However, at the same time as this decision, China approved the use of bear bile to treat patients with coronavirus.
Bear bile – a digestive fluid drained from living captive bears – has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine.
The active ingredient, ursodeoxycholic acid, is used to dissolve gallstones and treat liver disease. But there is no evidence that it is effective against the coronavirus and the process is painful and distressing for animals
Brian Daly, spokesperson for the Animals Asia Foundation, told AFP: “We should not rely on wildlife products like bear bile as a solution to fight a deadly virus that seems to come from wildlife. “
An animal market
In February, Chinese authorities banned the trade and consumption of wild animals.
This decision was made after it became apparent that a market in Wuhan selling wild animals and wild meat could have been the starting point for the new coronavirus epidemic, providing the virus with the means to move people around. animals to humans.
The news of this led the Chinese government to crack down on the trade and markets that sold such products.
There are now nearly one million confirmed cases of the virus worldwide and more than 47,000 deaths, according to a count from Johns Hopkins University.
In China alone, there are 81,589 confirmed cases and 3,318 deaths, the National Health Commission said.
Scientists and researchers are not even close to finding out what is the source of the virus and how it could have spread to humans.