Shenzhen (China) bans dog and cat meat while in Southeast Asia the trade is still developing

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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese city of Shenzhen has banned the eating of dogs and cats as part of a wider clampdown on the wildlife trade. In neighbouring Vietnam as well as in Cambodia and Indonesia, however, dog and cat meat is on the rise.

According to global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS, an estimated 10 million dogs and cats are brutally slaughtered for consumption in these three countries each year. Despite the global pandemic, dog and cat meat consumption has been shifted from "dine-in" to "shipping" and the advertisement of dog and cat meat dishes on a smartphone food delivery app. Using dog and cat meat as an excuse for a better health, these "believers" have ignored FOUR PAWS's warning about the risk of uncontrolled spread of disease such as rabies; despite of the fact that the animals are often sold at live animal markets across Southeast Asia – the place of origin of the novel coronavirus.

The Chinese city of Shenzhen has banned the eating of dogs and cats as part of a wider clampdown on the wildlife trade. 

Image Source: FOUR PAWS

The unsanitary conditions associated with the cat and dog meat trade, coupled with the contamination risks of having so many different animal species caged and killed alongside one another, present the perfect breeding ground for new and deadly diseases, like COVID-19. Although most local people in Southeast Asia oppose dog and cat meat, the trade in around ten million animals per year has continued to serve as a niche business. The rampant trade and live animal markets across Southeast Asia are ticking time bombs. If governments do not act now and shut down these cruel markets, the next global pandemic might originate in Vietnam, Cambodia or Indonesia”, says Dr Katherine Polak, veterinarian and head of FOUR PAWS Stray Animal Care in Southeast Asia. 

Booming business despite pandemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that 70 per cent of global disease-causing pathogens discovered in the past 50 years came from animals, and COVID-19 is no different. Despite the public health risk such animal trades present, many dog and cat meat restaurant owners report that business has actually increased during the pandemic.

The sellers supposed that "dog meat is good for health and helps to avoid colds, viruses including Covid-19". And those who like to eat dog and cat meat believe it is "natural, no chemicals and safe". But the truth is completely opposite, these meats are linked to outbreaks of cholera, cases of trichinella and rabies.

Take-away and delivery service: Dog and cat meat trade adapts

In Vietnam, due to the COVID-19 epidemic, a growing trend is take-away service. Dog and cat meat is advertised on the website by the restaurants and delivered through the Foody app. Especially in the North of the country, where dog and cat meat consumption has a longstanding history, dog meat restaurants also use delivery apps such as - one of the most popular delivery services established by Foody restaurant review platform.

FOUR PAWS declares war on dog and cat meat trafficking

In order to put a sustainable end to the brutal dog and cat meat trade in Southeast Asia, FOUR PAWS has launched a campaign on an international and national level. Through educational work and cooperation with the responsible authorities and tourism associations, the goal is to get governments in Southeast Asia to introduce animal protection laws which bring an end to the capture, slaughter and consumption of dogs and cats. Furthermore, FOUR PAWS supports local animal welfare organisations and communities with humane and sustainable stray animal care programmes. FOUR PAWS is also part of the animal welfare coalitions DMFI (Dog Meat Free Indonesia) and ACPA (Asia Canine Protection Alliance), which lobby against the trade in Southeast Asia.

“Shenzhen has taken a positive step for its people and animals in banning the consumption of dogs and cats. We encourage Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia to take similar steps to make sure that their dog and cat meat trade is not a source for further disease, as part of safeguarding their own people and the wider global community,” says Dr Karanvir Kukreja, Project Manager for FOUR PAWS “Ending the Dog and Cat Meat Trade in Southeast Asia” project.

Late last year, FOUR PAWS made a petition against the dog and cat meat trade, so far more than 640,000 people worldwide have signed

About FOUR PAWS organization

FOUR PAWS is a global animal protection organization whose subjects are affected by humans, with the responsibility to detect and rescue animals that need help and protect them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna (Austria) by Heli Dungler, this organization advocates a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS sustainable campaigns and projects focusing on pets including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and even wildlife - such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants - are kept in conditions that are not as appropriate as in disaster areas and conflict areas. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, Hungary, UK, USA and Vietnam, as well as some animal sanctuaries in twelve countries, FOUR PAWS provides immediate assistance as well as long-term solutions. For more detailed information, please visit: