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China: Zhuhai second city to ban eating dogs and cats
A second city in China has permanently banned the consumption of dog and cat meat in a move that has been welcomed by animal rights campaigners. The city of Zhuhai in China's southern Guangdong province follows the example of Shenzhen, which also announced a ban on eating cat and dog meat earlier this month.

In both cities, the bans form part of new, wider food safety measures proposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that also outlaws the human consumption of wild animals. These will come into effect on May 1.

Authorities in Zhuhai appear to have taken their lead from a revised draft "white list" released a few days ago by China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, which states that dogs and other companion animals are not "livestock," state-run China News reported. The white list outlines which animals are allowed for human consumption in China.

According to animal rights group Humane Society International (HSI,) the COVID-19 pandemic has played an important role in the dog and cat meat bans, even though these animals have not been linked to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

Quote:"I think certainly the context for these bans is China's revision of its food safety regulations in the wake of COVID-19, that's the basis of the national government statement on the livestock list, and the reason why Shenzhen advanced its wildlife consumption ban," Wendy Higgins, a spokesperson for HSI, told Newsweek.

"But the reason stated by Shenzhen for adding in dogs and cats, even though they are not implicated in coronavirus at all, is specifically in recognition of their special status as companion animals.

"I think something else is also going on here and that is that these cities are using this opportunity to reflect the mood of the majority of the Chinese people, most of whom of course don't eat dogs and cats," she said.

HSI says that the latest proposals could mark the start of a domino effect of progressive legislation in which more Chinese cities ban the consumption of dog and cat meat, creating the right conditions for a national ban, although Higgins stresses that it is hard to speculate at this point.

Quote:"Proposals for national dog and cat meat bans have come and gone in the past, so this is perhaps a new approach that could lead to city by city bans. If we do reach a critical mass of cities, that could in itself encourage a national ban, but it's probably premature to predict that right now," she said.


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