AGENCIES, Hong Kong: It seems that the coronavirus pandemic and its after-effects are having a profound impact on China’s future food policies involving animals. World health experts have blamed the origins of coronavirus epidemic from wild animals in a Wuhan wet market. And the Chinese are known to eat all sorts of animals which most countries in the world would not consider or allow for consumption.
The reforms, it seems are on the way as the Chinese government has issued a new draft list of livestock that can be farmed for meat .
Following the coronavirus outbreak, Beijing had temporarily banned all trade in wild animals for food. The country’s ministry of agriculture has issued a list of animals considered fit to be used as livestock on Wednesday which includes dietary staples such as pigs, cows, chickens and sheep, as well as “special livestock” such as a number of species of deer, alpaca and ostriches. Two species of fox, raccoons and minks can be kept as livestock but cannot be killed for their meat.
Interestingly, the draft doesn’t mention about animals which are suspected by scientists to have spread the virus to humans, like pangolins, bats and civet cats.
Animal rights activists who have been the championing the cause for dogs will be relieved to know that canines are absent from the list of livestock sources.
“With the progress of human civilization and the public’s concern and preference for animal protection, dogs have evolved from traditional livestock to companion animals,” said an accompanying explanation of the draft. “They are generally no longer regarded as livestock in the rest of the world. It is not advisable to list them under livestock or poultry in China.”
The draft has still yet to be finalized into law and the public has until May 8 to provide feedback.
On Thursday, the Humane Society International said that the draft proposal could be a “game-changer” for animal protection in China.