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Listing of animals to help stop illegal sales of wildlife

By Wang Xiaodong | China Daily | Updated: 2020-05-29 19:34
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Ren Dangfeng feeds goats in Guojiao village, Lushi county, Central China's Henan province, March 27, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

A list specifying 33 kinds of domestic livestock and poultry was released on Friday as a measure to facilitate enforcement of the ban on the illegal trade and consumption of wildlife.

The National Catalog of Livestock and Poultry Genetic Resources, released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, consists of 17 types of animals traditionally raised in China, including pigs, cows, goats, chickens and ducks, and 16 kinds of special animals such as deer, turkeys and ostriches.

All these animals have been raised in China for a long time and are proved to be safe.

Making such a list is meant to carry out a decision by the top legislature adopted in February amid the COVID-19 outbreak to ban the illegal trade and consumption of wild animals for public health and safety, the ministry said in a statement.

The decision made by the National People's Congress Standing Committee made it clear that all wildlife on the protection list of the existing Wild Animal Protection Law or other laws, and all terrestrial wildlife, including those artificially bred and farmed, are banned from consumption.

But animals that have been farm-raised for a long time, and that form value chains helpful in local poverty alleviation, are excluded. The decision required relevant central government departments to draft and publicize a list of such animals.

The 33 animals listed in the catalog released on Friday are the major source of meat in China, and their breeding has become a pillar industry in rural areas, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. It said the catalog could be updated in the future.

Following the release of the catalog, the ministry will publish all certified species of the 33 kinds of animals, which numbers more than 800. It will intensify law enforcement over animal health to prevent and control major animal diseases, the ministry said.

As for the widely-watched issue of whether dogs should be on the list-which many people believe is related to whether China would ban the consumption of dogs-the ministry said much public opinion supports not putting dogs on such a white list.

It said dogs have closer relationships with humans and are used for various purposes such as pets and working dogs, and they are not considered as livestock internationally.

However, although dogs are not on the list, they are not considered wild animals, so they could be raised.

"On the management of dogs, many departments and local authorities have gained some experience and issued rules on the raising, registration and compulsory immunity of dogs," the ministry said, adding that how to manage dogs could be further explored by local governments.

Yang Hongjie, from the ministry's National Animal Husbandry Services, said the new catalog mainly specifies livestock and poultry that are used for mass production, such as pigs, which is why animals such as dogs are not included.

Excluding dogs from the list does not relate to the dispute whether they can be raised for meat or not, he said.

"Management of dogs is the joint duty of relevant authorities, such as public security and urban management authorities, rather than the agricultural authority alone," he said.

The ministry will also work with related departments to help farmers quit raising wild animals, including providing compensation for them and helping them turn to other businesses.

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