Shenzhen has become the first Chinese city to ban the sale and consumption of dog and cat meat.
The momentous move comes after the coronavirus outbreak was linked to eating meat from wild animals, prompting Chinese authorities to ban the trade and consumption of wild animals.
Shenzhen went one step further, extending the ban to dogs and cats, a traditional source of meat in the Chinese culture. The new law will come into force on May 1.
Thirty million dogs a year are killed across Asia for meat, according to the group Humane Society International (HSI).
However, as the BBC notes, the practice of eating dog meat in China is not that common – the majority of Chinese people have never done so and say they don’t want to.
“Dogs and cats as pets have established a much closer relationship with humans than all other animals, and banning the consumption of dogs and cats and other pets is a common practice in developed countries and in Hong Kong and Taiwan,” the Shenzhen city government said, according to Reuters.
“This ban also responds to the demand and spirit of human civilization.”