China to Consider Classifying Dogs as Pets, Not Livestock, As Controversial Wet Markets Reopen

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Reports indicate the Chinese government will consider whether to classify dogs as pets to be cared for rather than livestock to be consumed as the country comes under international fire for its disturbing practices of selling dogs, cats, bats, and other common household pets and wild animals for consumption in wet markets.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage most of the world, China has come under increasingly fire in the West for its reliance on bush meat from wet markets, and for the social norm of eating cats and dogs.

According to German newspaper Deutsche Wella, the country will fast track legislation that could see dogs no longer considered livestock in the country:

Animal rights groups are praising China following the introduction of a draft law to reclassify dogs as pets, rather than livestock.

“As far as dogs are concerned, along with the progress of human civilization and the public concern and love for animal protection, dogs have been ‘specialized’ to become companion animals, and internationally are not considered to be livestock, and they will not be regulated as livestock in China,” read a statement issued by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, published on Wednesday.

Livestock animals are defined as those that can be bred for food, milk, fur, fiber and medicine.

While some experts remain convinced the origin of COVID-19 may be in a scientific facility in Wuhan, China, the prevailing scientific consensus is that the virus originated in a wet market near the facility, and that it likely originated in bats.

Now that the Chinese government claims life is returning to normal in the communist country, the controversial wet markets are reopening in the country as well.

This comes despite scientific agreement that, in addition to the possible origin of COVID-19 in a wet market, wet markets are breeding grounds for diseases. It is believed that both HIV/AIDS and Ebola first originated in wet markets in Africa.

It is unclear whether China will do anything to stop the country’s population from relying on questionably sourced food that may be a breeding ground for highly infectious disease, or if the international community will consider the move to stop butchering dogs for meat a sufficient action.