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In light of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, China has announced that it will reclassify dogs as pets from their previous designation as livestock.
China’s Ministry of Agriculture said the reclassification meant dogs are “specialized” to become companion animals and are no longer deemed livestock.
“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 said in a notice.
In a statement obtained by Fox News, Animal Wellness Action said the move was a major step in the right direction.
“We’re thrilled to see a light at the end of the tunnel with China’s proposal to reclassify dogs as companion animals and bring an end to dog meat trade,” Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action, said in an email to Fox News.
“These animals are our dutiful companions and not our dinner fare. If COVID—19 has taught us anything, it’s that we cannot allow infectious practices such as eating bats, dogs, cats, pangolins, and other exotic creatures to continue not only for the welfare of the animals, but for the heath and safety of the human race and global economy.”
It’s believed that the coronavirus pandemic originated from a wet market in Wuhan, China. Irby added that “dogs raised for meat are still a major part of those markets.”
Livestock animals are bred for food, milk and a number of other use cases, such as medicine or military activity, the New York Post reports.
Shenzhen became the first city in China to ban eating cats and dogs on April 2, according to the BBC.
It is still believed that 30 million dogs and 10 million cats are still killed for food across Asia, according to Humane Society International. The animal welfare organization added that the Yulin festival in China is “a dog-meat focused event.”
Currently, there is no known scientific cure for the disease known as COVID-19 that is ravaging the globe. There are, however, a multitude of different attempts to treat it, including various vaccines in different stages of testing.
As of Friday morning, more than 1.61 million coronavirus cases had been diagnosed worldwide, including more than 466,000 in the U.S., the most impacted country in the world.