If enforced, China’s recent revisions to its animal epidemic prevention law could help curtail the gruesome deaths during the country’s annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival in June, as well as the dog meat trade as a whole in the country.

Effective May 1, the amended law more strictly regulates the mass trafficking of animals for sale, trade, and slaughter, prohibits transactions involving animals infected by disease or who can be easily infected in epidemic areas, and requires quarantine certificates for all animals. The amendments also increase penalties and accountability for those who violate the law.

The Yulin Comprehensive Agricultural Administrative Law Enforcement Detachment announced the amendment, notifying people in the area about the recent changes.

Although dogs are not mentioned explicitly in the revised law, the changes could have broad implications for victims of China’s brutal dog meat industry, who often are snatched off the streets or stolen from loving families and crammed into filthy wire cages for transport to live markets. The innocent animals sometimes go for days without food or water while seeing their cage-mates get clubbed, sliced, and boiled.

The changes to China’s law could help ensure that sick, stolen, and stray dogs won’t end up slaughtered —  potentially saving millions of canines every year.

Those found in violation will be subject to a fine of up to 150,000 yuan (about $23,100), with a minimum of 50,000 yuan ($7,000), according to a translation of the Chinese government’s posting obtained by Lady Freethinker.

These changes come as the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic raises worldwide awareness of the public health hazards of cruel live animal markets, where experts posited that the COVID-19 virus “made the jump” from an animal to its first human host.

This is a promising sign that change may be on the horizon. However, we’ve seen signs of hope in the past that never materialized, and will remain vigilant as we monitor the situation and keep the pressure on to stop this horrific festival.

If you haven’t yet, sign Lady Freethinker’s petition urging Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai to push for an imminent nationwide ban on all human consumption of dog meat.

SIGN: End China’s Horrific Dog and Cat Meat Trade