Chinese Gov Proposes to Reclassify Dogs and Ban Dog Meat Trade

By The Bark Editors, April 2020, Updated June 2021

Animal Wellness Action, and the Animal Wellness Foundation lauded a proposal issued by China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs this week. This month, the Chinese government published a draft of a new list of animals that can be traded for meat that included pigs, cows, chickens and sheep, but excluded dogs and cats according to the Humane Society and CBS News.

Animal Wellness Action, and the Animal Wellness foundation have been working on this issue since its founding, and led the charge to pass the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act that was signed into law in the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill.  

The message to China was clear: Stop eating dogs and cats.

But the wet markets where COVID-19 jumped the species barrier to the human race are still operating in China, and dogs raised for meat are still a major part of those markets according to Animal Wellness.


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“We’re thrilled to see a light at the end of the tunnel with China’s proposal to reclassify dogs as companion animals and bring an end to the dog meat trade,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action who led the lobbying team that passed the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act. “These animals are our dutiful companions and not our dinner fare. If Covid—19 has taught us anything, it’s that we cannot allow infectious practices such as eating bats, dogs, cats, pangolins, and other exotic creatures to continue not only for the welfare of the animals, but for the health and safety of the human race and global economy.” 

The dog meat trade is brisk in South Korea, where dog meat traders raise and slaughter tens of millions of dogs. In China, people gather up street dogs to kill them for meat. Many dogs die from dehydration, suffocation, or heatstroke during transport, and watch as men kill their cage mates before their eyes. These abhorrent practices are even celebrated with a days-long, annual festival in Yulin, China that will hopefully soon be brought to an end.

Photo: Andrew Leu