On the eve of the Yulin festival, China officially confirms that dogs are life partners and not food – La Stampa


Dogs are not food, but life companions. Even in China. The official announcement came with the publication by the Ministry of Agriculture of the final version of the “List of Genetic Resources of Livestock and Poultry”, followed by a long explanation of why dogs are not included.

The news had already been anticipated in early April when the text of a bill proposed by the ministry that included pigs, cattle, sheep, poultry and camels but also wild animals as “livestock” was specified, specifying that the term “livestock” refers to animals that “have been domesticated and reproduced for a long time” in order to obtain products such as meat, eggs and fur or for medicinal and military purposes.

A news that becomes even more important given that in a few weeks the slaughterhouses of the city of Yulin will be filled with terrified four-legged for the much-discussed Dog Meat Festival. Hundreds of brutally killed animals, often stolen from their homes or captured from the streets and then transported to Yulin already in unacceptable conditions.

“The Yulin festival is a bloody demonstration that does not reflect the common feeling or eating habits of the Chinese people and its continuation is an insult to the opinion expressed by the Ministry of Agriculture. As noted by the Ministry, the attitude towards these animals has changed and it is time for Yulin’s butchers to put down their knives once and for all “comments Dr. Peter Li, a specialist in Chinese politics of the Humane Society International, an organization active throughout the Asia to end dog and cat meat trade.

Most Chinese people don’t eat dog meat
30 million dogs are killed every year across Asia. There are an estimated 91.49 million dogs and cats kept in China as pets, while at least 10 million are killed annually for the meat trade. All this despite the warnings of the World Health Organization which recalls how this type of trade spreads diseases such as rabies and increases the risk of cholera.

Most people in China do not habitually eat dogs. In fact, dog meat is only rarely consumed by 20% of Chinese people. A 2017 survey also revealed that even in Yulin, home of the well-known dog meat festival, 72% of the inhabitants do not regularly eat dog meat, despite efforts by dog ​​meat merchants to promote it. Nationally, a 2016 survey conducted by the Chinese survey company Horizon and commissioned by the China Animal Welfare Association in collaboration with Humane Society International and Avaaz, revealed that most Chinese citizens (64%) want the festival to Yulin be stopped. Furthermore, more than half (51.7%) believe that the dog meat trade should be completely banned and the majority (69.5%) have never consumed dog meat.

The official statement from the Ministry confirmed that most of the people who participated in the public consultation opposed the inclusion of dogs in the list of animals considered to be income. Continuing, it is said that dogs have a long history of domestication, alongside humans as guard, hunting, assistance or simply companion animals. It was also stressed that even the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) list of farm animals, dogs are not included internationally. The declaration ends by reflecting on the fact that times are changing and with them awareness of animals, eating habits and compliance with certain customs and traditions.

However, there are still wild species on the list
The final list, however, also includes wild animals which, after the coronavirus epidemic, ended up in the crosshairs of the national authorities: “The inclusion of wild species is regrettable. The intensive captive breeding of these animals presents serious problems for animal welfare and potential risks for human health – explains Dr. Teresa Telecky, head of the wildlife department of the Humane Society International -. Their reclassification as “livestock” does not reduce their suffering and the risk of zoonotic diseases. I sincerely hope that China will remove these species from the next list. “

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