You may have noticed the international outcry against the cat and dog meat trade in China. This is when cats and dogs (domestic and feral) are rounded up off the streets and shipped to marketplaces where they are slaughtered and sold as meat. The whole thing is quite brutal and the killing of the cats and dogs is indescribable.
There’s been quite a lot of criticism in China itself as well which is welcome. As a result it appears that the authorities are taking steps against what they describe as the illicit meat trade.
What is interesting is that they are not describing the trade as an act of cruelty to animals to be prosecuted under the criminal law (because there is no animal welfare criminal law!). They are taking steps under health and welfare regulations. By this I mean that they believe that cats and dog meat can be unhealthy especially when the cats and dogs are harvested and slaughtered in such informal and brutal ways.
The co-founder of a Beijing law firm says that the illicit dog and cat meat trade beaches food safety laws and “social stability” laws (not sure what that means).
The Ministry of Agriculture have tightened quarantine provisions regarding cats and dogs. The intention is to combat the undocumented transportation among quarantine cats and dogs. You may have read about this in the online newspapers: lorry loads of cats or dogs being shipped to the south normally where they have a culture of eating cat and dog meat and where the fur is used for the cat fur trade.
China Daily the online newspaper implies that cat and dog meat is potentially toxic or hazardous and therefore is a violation of Chinese criminal law, violations of which can result in very severe penalties: even the death penalty.
In addition, the authorities state that stealing pets and working animals as well as the unlicensed keeping of dogs of unknown origin is also a serious crime.
The conclusion is that a) the authorities are doing something about what the West perceives as a despicable act of cruelty; the mass killing of cats and dogs for meat and fur and b) the authorities don’t see anything wrong with it from the point of view of animal welfare but they see it as a violation of laws relating to human health and safety concerning the quality of the meat produced.
They would do better to write some animal welfare laws promptly. Just copy UK’s Animal Welfare Act 2006. We won’t mind.
You can eat cat meat in the US: