China has drawn up new guidelines to reclassify dogs as pets rather than livestock. The move is reportedly a response to the coronavirus outbreak that the Humane Society called a potential “game changer” in animal welfare.
Animals classed as "livestock" can be bred to provide food, milk, fur, fibre and medicine, or to serve the needs of sports or the military.
Although dog consumption has become increasingly unpopular in China, the Humane Society International, an animal welfare group, estimated that around 10 million dogs a year are still killed in China for meat.
The city of Yulin in the region of Guangxi holds an annual dog meat festival in June. In contrast, the Chinese city of Shenzhen has banned the eating of dogs and cats as part of a wider clampdown on the wildlife trade since the emergence of the new coronavirus.