an orange plate and chopsticks on a bamboo mat

China has much to answer for, but in Shenzen, one less thing. The city will ban the eating of cats and dogs from May 1st, becoming the first in mainland China to do so, as part of a wider clamp down on harmful trade and eating practices which helped create the global pandemic.

It’s believed that the virus originally spread in a Wuhan wildlife market, where snakes, bats and other animals were being processed and consumed by humans.

In February, China banned wildlife from trade and consumption as food at a national level in response to the rising crisis. But like many laws, loose interpretation was applied. Snakes and wild bats seemed obvious enough, but there were still grey areas.

a large building with a large roofWhat defined “wildlife” was broad, and in many parts of the country where the practice of eating cats and dogs is a ‘thing’, these city by city laws are designed to add clarity and finality to the matter. No more eating humankind’s best friends, or cats. As a concession to city dwellers, original plans to ban turtles and frogs was nixed and those are still just fine.

In the announcement of the new order, Shenzen made a point of telling locals that Hong Kong and Taiwan are already this progressive, and they do just fine with poultry, livestock and seafood.

For better, and much worse, China is home to one of the most diverse food consumption habits.

a plate and chopsticks on a matThe country, and World Health Organzation (WHO) have faced harsh criticism from leaders around the world for secrecy and spreading inaccurate information in the lead up to the crisis becoming global, including a tweet promoting the notion that human to human contact was not believed to be possible.

Ingredients aside, food culture has already changed in China in the wake of the virus, with fewer communal tables, more hygiene around delivery and a general insistence on better spacing of tables.

When they finally reopen, eateries around the world will get the message that we don’t actually enjoy listening in on the conversations of our dining neighbors, we’re just forced to by proximity. At least cats and dogs won’t be on the menu in one more city…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

Join the Conversation


  1. China didn’t put the word “hoax” in Trump’s mouth, nor did it put “herd immunity” in Boris Johnson’s. Step out of your glass house before throwing any more stones.

  2. Makes perfect sense if the Chinese have found dogs and cats can catch COVID-19. Didn’t they earlier stopped a night market where bush meat from other suspected carriers was sold?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *