Ahead of the controversial Yulin dog meat festival, which sees thousands of dogs cruelly butchered and eaten, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has banned dog meat across the country. The ministry released a new list of livestock and poultry on Friday, which for the first time clarified the 33 species of animals that can be raised in households, excluding dogs. This means dogs should be treated as pets or companion animals instead of farm animals officially.
According to Global Times, the National Catalogue of Livestock and Poultry Genetic Resources consists of 17 species of animals traditionally raised in China, including pigs, cows, goats, chickens and ducks, and 16 exotic animals such as deer, alpacas, turkeys and ostriches. Some animals included in the list are inedible, such as minks, foxes and raccoon dogs.
A ministry spokesperson said: “With the progress of the times, humans’ understanding of civilisation and dining habits have changed constantly. Some traditional customs about dogs will change too.”
The list has triggered confusion on dog meat consumption. To allay the confusion, the ministry said dogs are deemed as pets instead of traditional livestock across the world, so they are not suitable for livestock and poultry, as per the Animal Husbandry Law.
“Although dogs are not listed in the catalogue, the ministry made it clear that dogs can be raised, and related departments and local authorities have accumulated experience and worked out regulations to manage dogs, such as their registration and compulsory immunization,” Global Times said.