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Earlier this month, Shenzhen officially became the first city in China to ban the consumption of cat and dog meat, with the new law going into effect on May 1.
A recent ban on the consumption of specific wildlife meat in China is a response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic after some of the earliest infections were found in individuals who visited a wildlife market in Wuhan, China, according to The New York Times.
The Shenzhen government decided to extend the ban to cats and dogs as these pets “have established a much closer relationship with humans than all other animals,” according to BBC News. Additionally, “banning the consumption of dogs and cats and other pets is a common practice in developed countries and in Hong Kong and Taiwan.”
The proposed change will also fine Shenzhen restaurants found serving dog and cat meat.
Dog and cat meat consumption is not prevalent in many areas of China but is the most common in Shenzhen’s province of Guangdong and the neighboring province of Guangxi, which is home to the controversial Yulin Dog Meat Festival.
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