Chinese city Shenzhen bans eating dogs and cats amid pandemic, says 'modern civilization' calls for it

Chinese city Shenzhen bans eating dogs and cats amid pandemic, says 'modern civilization' calls for it
(Getty Images)

The Chinese city of Shenzhen has banned the eating of dog and cat meat in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic.

“It is prohibited to consume the following wild animals and their products: National key protected wild animals and other terrestrial wild animals that grow and reproduce naturally in the wild environment; and terrestrial wild animals that are artificially bred and raised. It is forbidden to consume animals and their products used for non-edible uses such as scientific experiments, public displays, pet breeding, etc,” says the notice issued by the standing committee of Shenzhen Municipal People's Congress on April 1.

According to the new rules, animals that can be eaten include pigs, cows, sheep, donkeys, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons, quails, which are listed in the National Livestock and Poultry Genetic Resources Catalogue, and other poultry and livestock raised in the Catalogue for food purposes. It also includes aquatic animals that are not prohibited from eating in accordance with laws and regulations.

“Cats and dogs, as pets, have a closer relationship with humans than other animals. The ban on the consumption of pets such as cats and dogs is common in many developed countries and Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other regions; practice is also a requirement and reflection of modern human civilization,” said officials.


Anyone found violating the regulations in restaurants, canteens will be fined and the animals and their products will be confiscated. “If the food is known to be the state's key protection of wild animals and their products, a fine of five to thirty times the value or the value of each person shall be imposed on the eater, and the organization of the edible shall be severely punished. Anyone who knows that the animal and its products are prohibited from being eaten except for the state-protected wild animals shall be fined, and shall be severely punished,” says the notice.


Chickens, cows, pigs, sheep, donkeys, rabbits, ducks, geese, pigeons, and quails, which are listed in the National Livestock and Poultry Genetic Resources Catalogue, can be eaten (Getty Images)

Units or individuals can no longer produce or trade banned animals and their products to provide food. The rules also stipulate that no one can breed or raise animals that are prohibited from eating to provide food. Units and individuals have been prohibited from publishing advertisements containing content that promotes or induces consumption of prohibited animals and their products.
The regulations also forbid eating, producing or trading prohibited animals and their products in the name of “medicated diet.”

“The cold chain distribution of edible animals shall be promoted. But the following actions are prohibited: slaughtering poultry and livestock without permission; sale of poultry and livestock slaughtered without permission; and the sale of live poultry and livestock to consumers to provide food,” it says.

Any unit or individual will have the right to complain and report to the relevant departments for violation of the regulations.

Following the outbreak in Wuhan, Chinese authorities had earlier banned the trade and consumption of wild animals.


Many experts believe that the COVID-19 virus was passed from bats to a mystery animal species that then passed it on to people. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus which causes COVID-19 “most probably has its ecological reservoir in bats, and transmission of the virus to humans has likely occurred through an intermediate animal host — a domestic animal, a wild animal or a domesticated wild animal which has not yet been identified.”

Accordingly, for live animal markets, the WHO recommends that anyone visiting such markets, or wet markets, or animal product markets, should practice general hygiene measures. This includes washing hands after touching animals and animal products, avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with hands, and avoiding contact with sick animals or spoiled animal products.  The guidelines also call for avoiding the consumption of raw or undercooked animal products.

“Any contact with other animals possibly living in the market (e.g. stray cats and dogs, rodents, birds, bats) should be avoided. Attention should also be taken to avoid contact with potentially contaminated animal waste or fluids on the soil or structures of shops and market facilities,” it says. 

For people working in these markets, the WHO advises hand hygiene and wearing protective gowns and gloves while handling animals and fresh animal products. Equipment and working stations should be disinfected frequently, at least once a day, it recommends.


“Workers should avoid exposing family members to soiled work clothing, shoes, or other items. It is therefore recommended that protective clothes and items remain at the workplace for daily washing,” says the guidelines.

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