Shenzhen is the first city in China that banned the eating of dogs and cats as part of broader restrictions on the wildlife trade since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
City authorities said the ban on eating dogs and cats would come into force 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 stated on Wednesday.
“This ban also responds to the demand and spirit of human civilization.”
In February China’s legislature announced it was banning the trade and consumption of wild animals.
Shenzhen is the first city to extend that ban to dogs and cats.
According to data from the Humane Society, there are thirty million dogs a year killed across Asia for meat, including an estimated 10 million dogs killed in China. Dog meat is consumed occasionally by less than 20% of the Chinese population.
A survey conducted by Chinese research company Horizon commissioned by China Animal Welfare Association in collaboration with Avaaz and Humane Society International found that the majority Chinese citizens (69.5%) have never eaten dog meat and more than half (51.7%) of them think the dog meat trade should be completely banned.
There are over 91.49 million dogs, and cats kept as pets in China.
Dr. Teresa M. Telecky, vice president of the wildlife department for Humane Society International, said: “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. People around the world are suffering the impact of this pandemic because of one thing: the wildlife trade. Shenzhen’s bold steps to stop this trade and wildlife consumption is a model for governments around the world to emulate. We urge all governments to follow suit by banning wildlife trade, transport and consumption for any purpose.”
It is believed that the coronavirus passed to humans from wild animals. The first infected people were those who worked on a wildlife market in the city of Wuhan where wild animals including civets, bats and snakes were sold for consumption.
Since then the virus has infected one million people around the world and killed nearly 50,000 of them.