A new bill in China proposing an end to the sale of dog and cat meat has gained massive support. This brutal trade in dog and cats has spread disease in humans, created outrage all over the world, and induced the suffering of millions of animals.

The proposal was put forth by Zheng Xiaohe, a deputy to the National People’s Congress, and has received almost 9 million votes online supporting its enactment. Though the bill may not have any easy path to become law, the popular support can’t be ignored by the government and will hopefully make a difference in the future. The bill calls to attention major reasons to ban dog and cat meat.

  • Related criminal activities: A majority of dogs taken to market are stolen from pet owners or picked up as strays. Though some dogs are farmed, it is much more lucrative to abduct these animals rather than raise them. A man’s seeing eye dog was even taken recently, getting a lot of attention in the press. The trade spans borders, and the illegal transport of the animals to and from neighboring countries thrives.
  • Spread of disease: Cholera, rabies, and yet-unknown epidemics are all real possibilities due to dog and cat meat consumption. China has battled H7N9 and SARS all too recently to let unregulated trade risk lives. The animals are not tested or quarantined, and many carry and spread diseases. In addition, poison darts are sometimes used for capture, placing humans at risk for residual effects.

Although the consumption of dog meat has been in practice in Asia and around the world for centuries, the brutality of the trade is gaining awareness in China especially. Social media is allowing activists to share the horrific treatment and conditions dogs and cats must suffer and regular people are able to make their opposition heard.

The same proposal was put forth last year and did not pass, even though a poll on China.org.cn garnered almost 2 million votes. Perhaps this year the exponential increase in voices will make a difference. Animal rights organization Last Chance for Animals has posted an online petition here urging President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping to support the proposed legislation.

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