The city of Zhuhai announced that dogs and cats are not livestock meant for consumption, as part of a wider ban on eating wildlife. The ban will take effect May 1. Photo by Peter Li/HSI
A second city in mainland China has banned dog and cat meat, striking the latest in a series of blows against this cruel trade that causes immeasurable suffering and pain for millions of animals each year.
The city of Zhuhai announced that dogs and cats are not livestock meant for consumption, as part of a wider ban on eating wildlife. The ban will take effect May 1. Zhuhai’s decision comes just weeks after a similar one by the city of Shenzhen. Both cities are located in the Guangdong province where the dog and cat meat trade is widespread, and are often cited as model cities for their technological innovation and economic openness.
Peter Li, Humane Society International’s China policy expert, believes that the bans in Zhuhai and Shenzhen could lead to a national ban on the dog and cat meat trade.
“This cannot be a simple decision from the cities’ leaders; it could be part of a new social and political experiment for new policies to be adopted at the national level. The Chinese government is very likely watching these cities closely as it ponders a national policy on ending dog and cat meat consumption,” Peter said.
We have already seen the Chinese government move toward this goal in recent days. Last week, the country’s ministry of agriculture and rural affairs declared in a report that dogs and cats are companion animals and should not be considered livestock. The municipality of Zhuhai, while announcing its ban, stated that lawmakers must adhere to China’s livestock “white list” of animals for human consumption. Many more Chinese cities are said to be considering similar laws.
All of this is great news for companion animals, including the more than 10 million dogs and four million cats who are killed for their meat in China each year, and for activists who have been fighting this trade for years, including our own Humane Society International staff and their partners in China.
Chinese animal protection groups and activists have not just turned the global spotlight on this trade, increasing pressure on the Chinese government to end it; they have also helped educate millions of Chinese citizens on the cruelty this trade encompasses, leading to the changing view of dogs and cats as companion animals and not meat.
We are also getting reports now that law enforcement authorities are requiring vendors to stop selling dog and cat meat in many more cities across China, and vendors found in violation can have their business permits revoked. These are among the signs of a true transformation in the making and we are more hopeful than ever that China is not far from the day when it will make this brutal trade history.
Published at Wed, 15 Apr 2020 19:46:12 +0000
While a cage-free setting is by no means an ideal environment, it is a much better alternative to a battery cage. Photo by David Paul Morris
New federal data released this month shows the enormous progress we have made toward the goal of ending the cruel cage confinement of farm animals in the United States. More than a quarter (26.2%) of eggs produced in our nation are now cage-free, according to official numbers published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That represents 86.5 million hens alive today who are being spared the horrors of being immobilized inside battery cages, and it’s a milestone worthy of celebration.
About 15 years ago when the Humane Society of the United States made ending cage confinement a top priority, only about 3% of the egg industry was cage-free. Working alongside other terrific animal protection groups and grassroots advocates nationwide, we launched legislative and corporate campaigns, persuading food corporations, producers and lawmakers to embrace standards that are better for hens.
More than 200 companies have since pledged to source eggs from cage-free hens (and we’re pushing these companies now to fulfill those pledges.) We also led political campaigns in five states—Michigan, California, Oregon, Washington, and Massachusetts—to ban the caging of hens and mandate that all eggs sold in these states be cage-free. Similar bills are pending in other states, and we successfully lobbied in Rhode Island to ban the use of cages within the state.
Our strategy has involved educating consumers about the tremendous suffering of farm animals, which has substantially strengthened demand for cage-free eggs. With hundreds of millions of egg-laying hens trapped in the U.S. food system at any given time, it is easy to lose sight of the suffering of individual animals. But every chicken has the capacity to suffer and feel pain, and a slew of reports and studies over the past decade show these birds are much smarter than they’re typically given credit for. As Humane Society International’s senior scientist Dr. Sara Shields and other experts explained in an All Animals article, chickens have complex communication systems, teach their young, and can even do basic math.
Imagine, then, the suffering these animals endure in a typical egg facility, where each hen is locked inside a barren wire “battery cage” with as many as 10 other birds. She has less space than the dimensions of an iPad on which to live her entire life, and not enough room to even extend her wings. This life of frustration and deprivation continues for almost two years until her egg production declines and she’s killed.
While a cage-free setting is by no means an ideal environment, it is a much better alternative to a battery cage. The standards we push for require that cage-free facilities give hens more than twice as much space per bird compared to what’s allotted in a battery cage. Typically they’re able to walk through the entire barn. In addition, the birds must be provided with enrichments that are vital to their natural behaviors, such as nest boxes, perches, as well as dust-bathing and scratching areas.
Our work continues at full speed even in these challenging times. Join us today in celebrating this important milestone for egg-laying hens. You have our assurance that we will not rest until the day when not a single farm animal is forced to endure life inside a cruel cage.
Published at Wed, 15 Apr 2020 16:10:16 +0000