The Chinese city of Shenzhen has announced a ban on the trade and consumption of cats and dogs, effective May 1st.
According to a report by Reuters, the ban is part of a wider crackdown on the wildlife trade, spurred by the emergence of the coronavirus.
It is suspected by health scientists that the virus most likely from can transfer from animals to humans, as some of the earliest infections were found in people who had been exposed to a wildlife market in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
“Dogs and cats as pets have established a much closer relationship with humans than any other animal,” stated the city government in an order published Wednesday. “Banning the consumption of dogs and cats and other pets is a common practice in developed countries and in Hong Kong and Taiwan.”
While provincial and city governments across China have been moving to enforce such rulings, Shenzhen wanted to make sure of explicitly extending the ban to include cats and dogs.
“There is no evidence showing that wildlife is more nutritious than poultry or livestock,” said Liu Jianping, an official with the Shenzhen Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
In Shenzhen’s initial rulings on the ban, it appeared that turtles and frogs, both common in the south of China, were banned from consumption, but city government clarified earlier this week that both could be eaten.