Shenzhen becomes first Chinese city to ban consumption of cats and dogs
Shenzhen, in south-eastern China, has become the first city in the country to ban the consumption of cats and dogs, the government announced.
The government said it will be illegal to eat animals raised as pets, under new rules which will come into effect on May 1.
In February, following the coronavirus outbreak, China passed a law to ban the consumption of wild animals.
"If convicted, they will be subjected to a fine of 30 times of the wild animal's value, if the animal is above the value of 10,000 CNY [$2,329 AUD]," authorities said.
Shenzhen now prohibits the consumption of state-protected wild animals and other terrestrial wild animals, captive-bred and farmed terrestrial wild species, as well as animals raised as pets.
Animals that can be consumed include pig, cattle, sheep, donkey, rabbit, chicken, duck, goose, pigeon, quail and aquatic animals that are not banned by other laws or regulations.
The coronavirus outbreak is believed to have started at a wildlife market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and authorities have acknowledged they need to bring the lucrative wildlife industry under control to prevent another outbreak.
However, ending the trade will be hard as the cultural roots of China's use of wild animals run deep, not just for food but also for traditional medicine, clothing, ornaments and even pets.
This isn't the first time Chinese officials have tried to contain the trade.
In 2003, civets (mongoose-type creatures) were banned and culled in large numbers after it was discovered they likely transferred the SARS virus to humans.
The selling of snakes was also briefly banned in Guangzhou after the SARS outbreak, but today dishes using the animals are still eaten in parts of China.