In China, industry-related crime and protests from an expanding, pet-loving middle class have led to a bill prohibiting the culinary use of cat and dog meat. If passed, the law would be China’s first legislation against animal cruelty. Businesses that continue to sell the meat would incur fines of 50,000 yuan ($7,325), and individual violators would face a 15-day prison sentence.
Opponents question the bill’s disregard for culinary folk customs that stretch back thousands of years. Many of those customs use dog meat for medicinal purposes. Critics also fault the law for targeting only cat and dog meat, claiming that it is hypocritical to exclude other animal meats such as from pigs and sheep.
To counter such resistance, lawmakers might exempt some cultures from the ban. Emphasis is being placed on stopping abusive practices such as the inhumane farming of cats and dogs and the theft of family pets to sell in markets. The legislature and State Council will review the bill in April. —Joy Schmoll