Variety

China reclassifies dogs as pets instead of livestock, calls them “loyal companions”

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on April 10, 2020

Vendors wait for customers as dogs are kept in a cage at Dashichang dog market ahead of a local dog meat festival in Yulin.   -  Reuters

China has decided to reclassify dogs as pets instead of livestock in its newly published guidelines for categorizing animals..

China’s Ministry of Agriculture announced in a notice written at the bottom of a policy document.

“Dogs are no longer to be treated as mere livestock but as loyal companions,” the notice read as quoted by Quartz.

The official announcement has been made following China’s temporary ban on the trade of wildlife announced back in February. The decision was in light of the global coronavirus pandemic which has infected over a The Covid-19 outbreak could have potentially stemmed from a new coronavirus being transmitted from wild animals to humans.

Experts believe that the seafood market in Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the outbreak is potentially ground zero for the outbreak.

The latest list of livestock animals published by Cina’s agricultural ministry includes 13 types of “traditional livestock” including pigs, cows, chickens, and turkeys along with 18 kinds of “special livestock” that include animals such as deer. All animals listed as livestock could be raised for eating, according to the ministry. The list could be changed or widened to include other animals for which the ministry is gathering public opinions till May 8, Quartz reported.

Earlier this month, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity had called for a global ban on wildlife markets, The Guardian reported.

Mrema has called for countries across the nation to put a permanent ban on markets selling meat acquired from wildlife such as the wet market in Wuhan. The ban is a bid to curb future pandemics. Mrema had further cited examples of the Ebola epidemic in west-central Africa and the Nipah virus in east Asia stating that there were clear links between new human illnesses and destruction of wildlife.

Published on April 10, 2020

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