Hastings Calls on China’s Leadership to Ban Live Animal Markets Ahead of the 2020 Yulin Dog Meat Festival

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Fort Lauderdale, FL, June 10, 2020 | comments

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) sent the following letters to President Xi Jinping and Chairman of the People’s National Congress Standing Committee Li Zhanshu, urging them to permanently ban live animal markets, including the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, which is set to begin on June 21, 2020. The letter also expressed support for recent steps taken in China to exclude dogs from being considered livestock and shut down wildlife markets, such as the one that was linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. It remains crucial for global health and animal welfare that all live wildlife and livestock markets, including the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, are permanently banned. (Please find attached and below the letter to President Jinping and the letter to Chairman Zhanshu):

“The pandemic the world is experiencing highlights the public health threats live animal markets pose that scientists have reported in previous zoonotic disease outbreaks. The cruel and inhumane Yulin Dog Meat Festival and the dog and cat meat trade at large need to be banned along with all other wildlife trade and consumption to prevent future zoonotic disease pandemics and to protect all animals and global biodiversity,” said Hastings. “I remain committed to protecting human and animal health and welfare and will continue to call for the global ban of dog and cat meat trade and live animal markets, and urge all leaders around the world to implement their own laws prohibiting these acts.”

“The cruel slaughter of dogs, cats, wildlife, and other animals at live markets is not only inhumane but also unacceptable for global public health and pandemic prevention,” said Peter J. Li, Ph.D., China Policy Specialist, Humane Society International.  “We thank Representative Hastings for appealing to Chinese leaders to build on their earlier steps and do everything they can to permanently shut down these markets and the notorious ‘dog meat festival’ in Yulin, as called for by millions of Chinese citizens and people across the world.”

June 9, 2020

The Honorable Xi Jinping
President
The People’s Republic of China
Zhongnanhai
No. 174 Xi Chang’an Jie,
Beijing, China 100017

Via electronic correspondence.

Dear President Xi:

First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your work to shut down China’s live wildlife markets and trade for human food consumption as part of China’s efforts to contain the Covid-19 pandemic and to eliminate a key potential source of future outbreaks of zoonotic diseases. We know that China is revising its Wildlife Protection Law to make the trade and consumption ban permanent. I wish you success in this important legislative step.

I also warmly welcome the statement made recently by China’s Ministry of Agriculture confirming that dogs are considered companions and not livestock, and acknowledging that attitudes and appetites are changing.

On June 21, 2020, the Dog Meat Festival in Yulin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China is set to begin.  I write to express my deep concern for the dog and cat meat trade and for the animals that are horribly mistreated during this festival, and respectfully urge you to end the festival, as well as the dog and cat meat trade across China. To do so would be in direct accordance with the Ministry’s recent declaration on dogs. The festival is also a huge public health risk. For this mass dog meat consumption event, a large number of sick and dying dogs of unknown sources are shipped over provincial boundaries, mass slaughtered, and consumed in crowded restaurants and other social gatherings, posing risks of epidemic outbreaks.

As you may know, I, alongside a bipartisan group of colleagues, championed the inclusion of an enacted federal prohibition on the domestic dog and cat meat trade and consumption across the United States in the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. Additionally, I have introduced H.Con.Res.71, a bicameral resolution calling on all nations to join the U.S. in ending the consumption and trade of dog and cat meat and to adopt and enforce laws banning this trade.

I understand that your government has well established laws regulating animal disease control, food safety, trans-provincial dog transport, and youth protection, all of which are violated by the dog meat trade, live animal markets, and by many of those taking part in the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. I urge you to build on these laws in order to adopt and implement full bans on live animal markets across China and of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. Uniform enforcement of these laws would provide a foundation to address the abuse and health concerns that are associated with dog and cat meat markets, and consumption.

I applaud the efforts of your government and the millions of Chinese citizens who oppose this festival and the dog and cat meat trade more generally. I commend the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai for adopting local laws that outlaw wildlife consumption and the eating of dog and cat meat. Additionally, the city of Yulin has worked to address the growing concern about the infamous festival with some success, but I know that your leadership, in concert with the People’s National Congress, can guide Yulin and other cities across China to institute and enforce the necessary laws to end the dog and cat meat trade in the interest of public health, food safety, and animal welfare.

In order to protect public health and fully address the current COVID-19 outbreak, we must take swift and decisive action. I fully understand that live animal markets and dog and cat meat consumption are not widespread practices, are not endorsed by your government, and that your government has sound and well-established laws to prosecute those who continue to put public health at risk on a global scale. It is my hope that you will join the growing effort in China, and indeed, across the globe, to eliminate the Yulin Festival and the dog and cat meat trade at-large as swiftly as possible, in order to protect the public health and welfare of communities and animals around the world.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and I urge you to consider supporting this endeavor.

Sincerely,

Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress

CC:     
Ambassador Cui Tiankai
U.S. Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place, N.W.
Washington, D.C., 20008

June 9, 2020

The Honorable Li Zhanshu
Chairman
Standing Committee of The National People’s Congress
The Great Hall of the People
Renda Huitang West Road
Xicheng District, China 100031

 Via electronic correspondence.

Dear Chairman Li:

First of all, I thank you for your leadership in shutting down China’s live wildlife markets and trade in wild animals for human consumption as food on February 24 as part of the Chinese government’s actions to contain the Covid-19 pandemic and to eliminate a source of epidemic outbreaks in the future. I urge you to make this trade and consumption ban permanent and move to ban other types of intensive wildlife production for fur, medicine, display, pets, and laboratory use, systems that could also be breeding grounds for pandemics.

I write to express my deep concern as well for the animals horribly mistreated in the trade of dog and cat meat, in addition to the public health implications of this practice, and respectfully urge you to end the dog and cat meat trade across China.

As you may know, I, alongside a bipartisan group of colleagues, championed the inclusion of an enacted federal prohibition on the domestic dog and cat meat trade and consumption across the United States in the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. Additionally, I have introduced H.Con.Res.71, a bicameral resolution calling on all nations to join the U.S. in ending the consumption and trade of dog and cat meat and to adopt and enforce laws banning this trade.

I understand that your government has well-established laws regulating animal disease control, food safety, trans-provincial dog transport, and youth protection, all of which are violated by the dog and cat meat trade, live animal markets, and by many of those taking part in the infamous Yulin Dog Meat Festival. I urge you and the entire government to build on these laws in order to adopt and implement full bans on live animal markets across China. Uniform enforcement of these laws would provide a foundation to address the abuse and health concerns that are associated with dog and cat meat markets and consumption.

I applaud the efforts of your government and the millions of Chinese citizens who are opposed to the dog and cat meat trade more generally. I commend the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs for its public statement declaring dogs as companion animals, not livestock. I also want to applaud the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai for adopting local laws that impose a ban on wildlife, dog, and cat meat consumption. Additionally, the city of Yulin has worked to address the growing domestic and international concern about the infamous festival with some success, but I know that your leadership in the People’s National Congress in concert with President Xi Jinping can guide cities across China to institute and enforce the necessary laws to end the dog and cat meat trade.

In order to protect public health and fully address the current COVID-19 outbreak, we must take swift and decisive action. I fully understand that live animal markets and dog and cat meat consumption are not widespread practices, are not endorsed by your government, and that your government has sound and well-established laws to prosecute those who continue to put public health at risk on a global scale. It is my hope that you will lead a national legislative effort, joining the growing movement in China, and indeed, across the globe, to eliminate the dog and cat meat trade as swiftly as possible, in order to protect the public health and welfare of communities and animals around the world.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and I urge you to consider supporting this endeavor.

Sincerely,

Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.

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