Chinese city moves to ban consumption of dog and cat meat, and wildlife, in wake of coronavirus

By on February 26, 2020 with 58 Comments

The Chinese city of Shenzhen has put forward a groundbreaking proposal to ban the consumption of dogs and cats, as well as several wild animals, as the coronavirus crisis continues to make headlines around the world.

The coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more than 2,700 people and sickened more than 80,000 around the world, has not been linked in any way to dogs and cats. But Shenzhen city officials included these companion animals in the proposed ban in recognition of the special status they occupy in Chinese hearts and homes, as pets. With the ban, they said, they sought to “further satisfy the daily needs of people” by including animal species that are not wildlife.

According to media reports, officials described the regulation as the “universal civilization requirement of a modern society.”

If successful, the ban on dog and cat meat would be the first of its kind ever enacted in the country, where an estimated 10 million dogs and four million cats are consumed each year. It would be a major victory for companion animal lovers in China who have been fighting to end the deeply entrenched dog and cat meat trade there. Shenzhen is an economic powerhouse and China’s fifth largest city, with a population of nearly 13 million, and such a ban would carry great impact, both in terms of the number of people it would cover and the strong message of compassion it sends to the rest of the nation

The proposal now awaits feedback from the public before it can become law.

China’s dog meat trade, which Humane Society International has been fighting for 12 years now working with activists on the ground, has attracted global censure. Each year, the world watches with horror as dogs and cats are ​killed for human consumption at the Yulin dog meat festival, but this same cruelty takes place year-round across China. Dogs trapped in this trade are often stolen pets, and they are transported over long distances in violation of the country’s live animal transport regulations. The trade also poses a serious public health threat to the nation’s 1.4 billion people: China has the world’s second largest number of humans infected with rabies.

In addition to dogs and cats, the ban in Shenzhen would cover a number of wild animal species, including snakes, frogs and turtles. The proposal does allow for the consumption of swallows’ nests, which are harvested by driving away mother swallows, leaving them with no place to lay eggs and nurse their babies. This is an extremely cruel practice and we urge Shenzhen officials to include swallows’ nests in their ban as well.

Shenzhen is already covered by the emergency measure China introduced earlier this week banning the trade in wild animals for food. But we are heartened to see city officials go above and beyond the national ban by extending it to ​dogs and cats. We commend Shenzhen authorities for taking this progressive step and we hope the proposal will be promptly adopted. We also urge the National People’s Congress, China’s ​national legislature, to revise its now toothless wildlife protection law and to get serious about ending the trade in dog and cat meat.

The world is watching, and waiting, and there is more at stake now than ever.

Companion Animals, Humane Society International, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Brian says:

    One can only guess why HSUS hasn’t begun a boycott of Chinese goods until they completely ban these horrible dog and cat markets. Hit them where it hurts.

  2. Michele OBrien says:

    It’s a damn shame that it took the coronavirus to start Banning the consumption of dogs, cats and other animals. Let me point out that they had no problem killing and selling for consumption dogs with rabies and other rather serious diseases. Hopefully this ban will be instituted and will start the ball rolling towards banning the consumption of dogs and cats in all of China

    • Caligula says:

      I agree ☝️

    • I. Levitt says:

      Yes! Agree! It’s still horrific to think it takes this to get the ball rolling!!! So much more should be done regarding this evil.

    • Becky Williamson says:

      I don’t trust china! I don’t believe any thing they say! I pray to god they stop killing beautiful dogs and cats! It is so heartbreaking to see what these animals have to go threw you can see the fear and sadness in there eyes! I don’t understand how a human could kill and eat such beautiful animals! They are companion Animals not food! Thank god the united states doesn’t allow this cruel and in humane act! I have no respect for the chinese goverment they allow it! We need to stop buying things made in china tell it stops!!!

  3. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

    Eso es bueno ya no podemos seguir abusando de la fauna de nuestro mundo nos estamos acabando nuestro mundo

  4. M Leybra says:

    “If successful, the ban on dog and cat meat would be the first of its kind ever enacted in the country….such a ban would carry great impact, both in terms of the number of people it would cover and the strong message of compassion it sends….” This ban has nothing to do w/ ‘compassion’ for animals, it’s about a virus affecting humans.

  5. Michele Jankelow says:

    How anyone can bear witness, consume and know the horrors of it all is beyond any culture and acceptance! These gentle dogs and cats, horrifically handled and slaughtered leaves no doubt as to the lack of compassion and decency of any society that would commit these atrocities! Animals have to be accepted in China as feeling, caring and sentient beings just like people!!!

    • feli says:

      And there lies the problem – the humans abusing and trading in the animals are neither feeling, caring or sentient . It’s purely for money and they are transported and killed by the cheapest ways possible . It won’t stop – it will just go underground and be as vile and disgusting as it’s always been . As long as there is demand, the killing will continue

  6. Jan says:

    HSUS can lead a horse to water but they can’t force them to drink that water!!!!!!!!

  7. Monica says:

    Now is the time to push for getting over the finish line of ending the uncivilized practices. There is an opening here and now with this disease fear, to permanently end the cruelty and barbarism. Who will lead to ramp up the efforts from all fronts? Who can influence the process? Let’s envision accomplishing the goal in 2020.

  8. Monica Lucchi says:


    • Pat Wolter says:

      Thank you. A global ban of dog and cat meat trade is what we need. The horrors I have seen on the internet are beyond heartbreaking. This has to stop!!!

  9. Pamela says:

    There is no deterrent for animal cruelty in China. So the horror that goes on in that country is mainly the fault of the Chinese Government.
    The people choose to believe that a tortured animal provides the best meat.
    But then they are told that animals have no feelings. This is a contradiction. It is also idiotic.
    Any other country trading with China should do so on the condition that they improve the lives of humans and all other living creatures that have the misfortune of living there.

  10. Sandy says:

    Alleluia . Hopefully the rest of China follows their example.

  11. Lori Dobbelaire says:

    How can I adopt that dog in the picture?

    • Michelle says:

      I felt the same when I saw that poor dogs eyes, face and despair. This is beyond sad. It made me cry 😢 What are these people thinking??? Do they not know that this is so barbaric. I just don’t get or understand them at all.

  12. Sharon says:

    I hope this brings the horrific practice that China, and other countries, allow to an end.
    What kind of people allow animals to not just be eaten, but tortured before doing so.
    It makes me sick to my stomach to know helpless, loving, animals must endure this disgusting practice.

  13. Brenda Link says:

    This is great….unless the government begins to kill all cats and dogs thinking they are all carry the virus. I’m sure this group is keeping a close watch, I would hate to know they are not giving a chance to be adopted.

  14. Sandra says:

    Oh and another thing if people would stop breeding animals and letting their cats out because they don’t want to clean a litter pan and then the kittens gets into a shelter and where do you all think they go when they’re in the shelter’s I’ve seen it it’s disgusting tons and tons of them picked up in this big net and there’s some that they don’t care if their legs are broke or nothing. And then these animals are shipped off to be eaten. Stop breeding

  15. Lehua says:

    Everytime I hear about things of this nature my heart just hurts. Growing up in Hawaii I’d always hear people joking about stuff like ” How do you think they make manapua” and just lightly chuckle thinking to myself” now here’s an idiot, nobody eats cats!” Then I get older and start dealing with the things of this world and how absolutely disgusted now that I know it’s really true. And how sad that I have to belong to a race where things like this is human nature. Steal, Kill, and Destroy. I hope that morality, justice, and compassion is given for these poor beautiful creatures.

  16. Jo says:

    Just want to point out that the nests used in bird’s nest soup are from swifts not swallows.

  17. Michele says:

    The eating of dog and cat began as a response to losing I believe, the Korean war. They believed eating meat was what made the Americans tuff. Obviously this is superstition and needs to end. What ever it takes, it is time to stop eating these animals and being so evil to them. Many more Chinese would agree than disagree. Most want the practice to end.

  18. Lisa Robicheau says:

    I hope this ban is not sending the wrong message where people will think the ban on consumption is in relation with the corona virus. Otherwise it can be used as sopporting the further killing of these animals. Even when they are not passing the virus. I can only pray and hope these babies can see a better future.

  19. Dana says:

    What about the donkeys being slaughtered in the streets with sledge the Chinese see its really donkey meat ?
    The Chinese like to see the live animal first.
    What about barqueing dogs alive on a spit ?
    How can they really know what some people are doing to animals in that country…this is good news but still needs a lot of campaigning to end such horrific cruelty to animals … can’t say factory farming in North America isnt cruel..its all pretty horrible.
    What about skinning dogs alive for their skin in China….which are made into gloves sold across the world ???

  20. Patricia Lamonica says:


  21. Karen Delen says:


  22. Monica says:

    Wow i really hope and pray that this people accept to ban the consummation of these beautiful innocent animals i really hope so with all my heart , God bless you and thank you sooo much for doing everything you can to stop this for good !!!!❣

  23. Denise Donnelly says:

    Stop eating dogs and cats. Go veg

  24. Bill says:

    I’m disgusted by this article. I was prompted to research the Chinese eating dog tradition with the recent political remarks. I am shocked and disgusted and furious. If I was at that festival, I guarantee heads would be rolling.

  25. Cassie Donnelly says:

    This must stop now Go veg

  26. NOREEN. BAKER says:

    We want the Chinese government to enforce their existing law to outlaw dogs and cats in there meat trade they don’t belong for food consumption they are domestic animals they should be ashamed of all the inhumane cruelty they ignore in there country we want to see change and animal protection laws introduced in china

  27. Patricia says:

    In my heart all these years this has been building people are sick and they started this the ones that eat our pets ,feral cats and dogs are mercilessly killed there is no need for them to do what they do. Much less the wild animals

  28. christine Meredith says:

    This practice needs to stop especially in view of the current climate, it ie inhumane, disgusting and as the world has found out spreads disease. Not to say what these poor babies go through. Stop it now

  29. Lisa says:

    who are the people in this GOvernment that repeadly allows this HORROR.. get rid of them and get in humane legislatives… they have no power to change this or.. year after year they seem to agree w the HORRORIFIC animal abuse.. they do nothing to help the animals.. as if the people in over the people have no power.. Year after year.. same evil as if satan is killing these cats and dogs.. and ll the animals.. any animal in china.. is treated w extreme Pain and suffering.???????????? sick. NO POWER.. or HUMANE anything. point blank. as if they enjoy it.. pure evil people

  30. Lisa says:

    NO animal, NO living , feeling , being ,,,.. should have to die this way……… and NO ONE…..,should have the right to DO what these people are doing to these living feeling beings…. ITS WRONG. NOT HUMANE.

  31. Thuy Nguyen says:

    We can only hope that other city in china will follow Shenzhen. Hope the china govt will support this change to save millions of dogs and cat in china every year.

  32. Denise Donnelly says:

    This must stop all aver the world. This is so sick. They have no heart or soul. St

  33. Jackson says:

    I thought dogs were mans best friend. Not mans best meal. Also, that’s is just so messed up, dogs don’t deserve this. It makes me cry seeing pictures of people with dead dogs for dog meat, just wasting a dogs life that could of been happy with a family.

  34. Matt says:

    Sorry to disturb everyone as I’m not sure whether you know or not .
    The dogs are being boiled or barbecued because they think if they suffer the meat would be more tasty .

  35. lumi says:

    Any updates on this? Has the Yulin festival and wet markets been banned yet? Yulin festival 2020 is coming up and no one is talking about it. I would assume they cannot do it because of the CoronaVirus outbreak but you never know what great lengths people will go to harm animals.

  36. Ronald E Linville says:

    As far as I’m concerned if these people are capable of torturing a living companion that’s wanting nothing but to give and receive love they can not be trusted in our society China has proven many times over the kind of people they are especially after the latest deed they have done to the world I’m sorry but I’m done with China I will do without before I allow anything from china in my home

  37. Jackie Leggett says:

    Has the yulin dog and cat festival and the Korean dog and cat festival stopped has it stopped answer this I think the world needs to STOP BUYING CHINESE GOODS UNTIL THESE SICK BARBARIC ACTS ARE STOPPED forever what about donkeys for tourists tigers also any animal kept in dreadful condition for a selfie a donkey ride a elephant ride stop that also we are killing animal for what that’s right for money your depraved if u think u have a right to keep torture or kill gods creature yet no one does anything the government’s can stop this again it’s about money !!!!!!! The world needs to wake up or the only animals this world will end up with will be in books and imagine a world without animals I know who I would prefer to spend my life with and it’s no humans

  38. Peanut says:

    Has the yulin dog festival been canceled ?

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