China Government bans dog meat trade weeks before Yulin Festival

The Government of China recently declared cats and dogs as "companions" to humans and have imposed a ban on the Wildlife Trade. The news comes just a few weeks ahead of Yulin's dog meat festival. China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs came as a final Directory of Genetic Resources of Livestock and Poultry was published, which stated the list of animals in the livestock. 

The spokesperson of the Government stated that many people took part in the public consultation process criticized keeping dogs in livestock list as they are companions and pets of humans, and act as a search and rescue animals for officials. He further added that its high time, many traditional customs about dogs should be changed.

The decision came a week before Guangxi province's Yulin festival where millions of dogs are butchered, skinned and cooked while they are alive. More than 10million dogs are killed alive every year, according to Humane Society International. 

Even the World Health Organisation warned China to stop dog trade as it increases the risk of rabies and cholera. Dr Peter Li, China Policy Specialist of HSI, stated that Yulin Festival is a "bloody spectacle [which] does not reflect the mood or eating habits of the majority of the Chinese people. "

He further added that "Now that the Chinese government has officially recognized dogs as companions and not livestock, we are hopeful that China will take stronger steps to hasten the end of the dog and cat meat trade for which millions of animals continue to suffer every year."

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"The announcement presents cities across China with the perfect opportunity to act upon the government's words by protecting dogs and cats from the meat trade thieves and slaughterhouses."

Before the China Government, Shenzhen and Zhuhai provinces banned the trade of dog and cat meat. However, several wild animals are part of the livestock list including several deer species, alpaca, guinea-fowl and the three most commonly farmed wild species for China's fur trade - racoon dog, silver fox and mink. 

The decision was taken after the global contamination of Coronavirus, which is believed to have originated from Wuhan district of China. The virus is believed to have originated from horseshoe bats and spread through intermediate species to humans and lead to a global pandemic. The city is declared Wildlife Sanctuary and a ban of five years is announced on wildlife consumption.