Dogs are friends not livestock, says agriculture ministry

Chinas agricultural ministry has officially declared that dogs are not livestock, possibly foretelling that they will soon no longer be on menus in the country.On Wednesday, the ministry released a draft list of animals categorized as livestock  those that can be bred for meat, products, or medicinal use.
The list includes 13 types of traditional livestock animals like pigs and cows and 18 kinds of more exotic animals like deer and ostriches.
Not included on the list are dogs. Instead, the ministry included a special note, explaining that dogs have evolved from being livestock to companion animals.
Cats are also not on the list either, though merit no special footnote.
The list is only a draft and is subject to change. The ministry says it will be gathering public opinions until May 8.

The list was compiled after China officially banned the trade and consumption of wild animals in February in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, which is believed to have begun at a wet market in the city of Wuhan.
The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market boasted a wide variety of live wildlife for sale, providing a fertile ground for the deadly virus to jump from one species to another, mutating along the way and eventually finding a human host.
While Beijing had declared that the eating of any wild terrestrial animals not included on the list would be banned, its not clear if that includes dogs, which arent typically viewed as wild animals.
Its uncertain if this will remain a loophole or if companion animals will be definitely deemed uneatable.

Earlier this month, Shenzhen became the first city to ban the eating of dogs and cats in its municipal regulations in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
Eating dogs has always been an extremely controversial topic when it comes to China. While not widespread, dog meat has been a popular traditional menu item in some parts of the country.
Each summer, the Lychee and Dog Meat Festival in the Guangxi city of Yulin never fails to spark outrage from animal activists across the globe as thousands of canines are caught and slaughtered for the festivities.



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