The Chinese city of Shenzhen of Guangdong Province bans the eating of cats and dogs after the COVID-19 outbreak.
This comes as part of a wider clampdown on the wildlife trade since the emergence of the new coronavirus.
“Dogs and cats as pets have established a much closer relationship with humans than all other animals, and banning the consumption of dogs and cats and other pets is a common practice in developed countries and in Hong Kong and Taiwan,” the city government announced on Wednesday.
“This ban also responds to the demand and spirit of human civilization.”
According to the notification issued by the authorities in the southern Chinese technology hub, the ban on eating dogs and cats would come into force on May 1.
Earlier in February, Shenzhen’s initial rules appeared to ban the consumption of turtles and frogs – both common dishes in China’s south.
However, the city government acknowledged this week that this had been “a hot point of controversy” and clarified that both could be eaten.
This decision has won praise from animal welfare groups.
“Shenzhen is the first city in the world to take the lessons learned from this pandemic seriously and make the changes needed to avoid another pandemic,” said Teresa M. Telecky, the vice president of the wildlife department for Humane Society International.
“Shenzhen’s bold steps to stop this trade and wildlife consumption is a model for governments around the world to emulate.”
China’s top legislature said in late February it was banning the trade and consumption of wild animals.