China signaled that it is planning to officially ban the eating of dogs after the species was omitted from a list of animals approved for human consumption.
The Ministry of Agriculture published a draft version of the list on Wednesday, which lays out what animals will be allowed to be bred for meat, fur and medical use, and includes species such as deer, ostriches and foxes.
The ministry is seeking public feedback on the draft list until May 8, it said.
In its statement, the ministry specifically noted the omission of dogs, saying that public concern about the issue and a growing awareness of animal protection had contributed to the species being left off.
In the Chinese city of Wuhan, the wet market that spawned the pandemic which has brought the world to its knees now slumbers quietly behind a tidy-looking blue-and-white partition.
The eating of dogs has become an increasingly controversial issue in China as pet ownership has surged.
It has been further brought to the fore by the coronavirus, which was first identified in patients linked to market in the city of Wuhan where non-traditional animals were sold for food.