Shenzhen People’s Congress, the city’s legislature, published the new regulations on Tuesday (Mar 3), adding that the public have until next Thursday (Mar 12) to submit opinions and recommendations.
The South China Morning Post reported that a “white list” of permitted meats included pork, beef, chicken, rabbit, fish and seafood but excluded cats, dogs and other popular options such as snake, turtles and frogs.
Shenzhen Special Zone Daily reported that authorities informed them it was near impossible to publish a “black list” due to the sheer volume of wild species in China, believed to be in the tens of thousands.
The trading and consumption of wild animals are largely believed to be the root cause of the COVID-19 coronavirus, originating in a food market in Wuhan last December where a wide range of animals were on offer including salamanders, live wolf cubs, crocodiles, civet cats, bats, snakes, and koalas.
The coronavirus has so far infected close to 100,000 people globally and killed 3,385.
‘We should applaud Shenzhen’
The move by Shenzhen follows the passing of a resolution by The National People’s Congress on Monday (Mar 2) banning the trading and consumption of wild animals.
Epidemiologists have long criticised China’s appetite for wild and exotic animals and linked the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) epidemic in 2003, which killed 800 people, to the consumption of civet cats, a popular dish in the south of the country.
The news will be welcomed by animal rights advocates who fight ongoing campaigns to outlaw many of the practices witnessed in China, most notably the annual Yulin dog festival which has received almost universal scorn.
“We should applaud Shenzhen for [protecting pets],” said Liu Jinmei, an environmental lawyer with the NGO Friends of Nature.
“There should have been a regulation banning eating companion animals a long time ago,” she added.
The existing law in China protecting wildlife was introduced in 1989 but was riddled with loopholes as it stated the consumption of wild animals and captive breeding was admissible for commercial purposes.
The port city of Tianjin also passed new legislation 10 days ago that outlawed the capture, trading, farming, and consumption of wild animals.
It is hoped these moves create momentum to encourage change and support among other cities throughout China moving forward.