China confirms 'dogs are companions, not for eating'

China officially confirms ‘dogs are companions, not for eating’ ahead of Yulin festival

Read Time:   |  1st June 2020

Ahead of the infamous Yulin festival, China has officially recognised dogs as companions and not “livestock” for eating

With just three weeks to go until China’s controversial Yulin dog meat festival, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has officially recognised dogs are companions and not “livestock” for eating.

Each year, the festival sees thousands of dogs killed for consumption, many of which are stolen from homes and from the streets.

The announcement from China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs came as a final Directory of Genetic Resources of Livestock and Poultry was published and omitted dogs from the long list of animals allowed to be commercially bred, raised and traded.

According to a government spokesperson, the majority of people who took part in a public consultation process, which was open to the public until May 8, opposed including dogs as livestock.

The reasons given by the public cited the fact that dogs have long been domesticated as “companions” and “pets”, as well as acting as service animals to those with visual impairments and the police force.

Stronger steps needed

In a statement sent to Vegan Food & Living, Dr Peter Li, China Policy Specialist for animal protection group Humane Society International that campaigns across Asia for an end to the dog and cat meat trades, welcomed the news, saying: “Now that the Chinese government has officially recognised 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.

“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.

‘Lay down the butchers knife’

Dr Li continued: “In just a few weeks’ time, the dog slaughterhouses of Yulin city will fill up with terrified dogs awaiting brutal slaughter for its infamous festival. A great many of those dogs will have been stolen from homes and streets before being transported to Yulin. They will be precisely the much loved companions and helper dogs referred to in the national government’s statement as being not for food.

“The Yulin festival is a bloody spectacle that does not reflect the mood or eating habits of the majority of the Chinese people, and its continuation flouts the sentiment expressed by the Ministry of Agriculture.

“As the Ministry observed, attitudes and appetites about dogs have changed and so now it is time for Yulin’s dog slaughterhouses to lay down the butcher’s knife, and consign the festival to the history books.”

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