Humane Society

China To Start Classifying Dogs As Pets Rather Than Livestock

In a historic move, China has pushed a draft law that would reclassify dogs as pets instead of livestock, which would protect them from mass breeding and slaughter.

Many swift movements are being made to reclassify dogs as pets only.


It started with a ban on the trade and consumption of dogs and cats in Shenzhen, a Chinese city with a population of more than 12.5 million, just last week.

Then the Ministry of Agriculture drafted a law to make that more widespread.

Flickr | gem

"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," the Ministry of Agriculture wrote in a statement issued this past Wednesday.

The draft guidelines have been opened to the public for consultation.

Flickr | Breaking Asia

The draft lists the 18 animals still considered livestock, including cattle, poultry, pigs, and camels. Humane Society International says this draft could "potentially be a game-changer moment" in the wake of Shenzhen's ban.

Many speculate this move is one being made in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Unsplash | Nauris Pūķis

China had already put a temporary ban on the sale, breeding, and consumption of wild animals, as the illness is suspected to have begun to spread at a wild animal market in Wuhan.

Dr. Peter Li, Humane Society International's China policy specialist, is extremely hopeful for what's to follow.

Unsplash | Vijeshwar Datt

"This is the first time we’ve ever seen China’s national government explain that dogs are companion animals. Recognizing that dogs hold a special bond with humans is an essential first step towards eliminating the consumption and trade in dog meat. This could be a pivotal moment that provides encouragement for other cities across the country to follow Shenzhen’s lead to ban the eating of dogs and cats," he said in an article published by the organization.

It's an extremely positive change, and seems to be moving rather quickly.

Unsplash | Fredrik Öhlander

We can only hope the law is passed as fast as possible so more dogs can be protected and saved.