• 29
  • January

BEIJING (Reuters) - A proposal to jail people who eat dog meat for up 15 days has caused controversy in China, where dog hot pot is traditionally popular.

The first draft of a law against animal abuse, aiming to protect animals from being hurt or killed in a cruel manner, has been completed by a group of experts and will be raised for legislation this April, local media reported.

Test H3

In particular, the draft suggested people caught eating dog or cat meat be jailed for up to 15 days and fined 5,000... ($732.5), while businesses would be fined from 100,000 to 500,000... according to...

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Debate immediately swirled in Chinese media and Internet forums.

"Eating cats and dogs is a shameless barbarian thing. Anyone with humanity would not kill these loyal friends of ours," a user..." posted...

Pet lovers' associations have sprung up in Chinese cities, with one liberation group last year ramming a truck full of caged cats to rescue them from being shipped to southern restaurants.

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While many Chinese enjoy rich dog meat, especially during cold winters, some object to the practice in some regions of beating dogs to death to release the blood into the meat.

The China National Native Produce & Animal By-Products Import and Export Corporation backed the initiative, which it believes will improve overseas perceptions of Chinese exports.

Others insisted a ban on dog and cat meat was unrealistic.

"Banning such custom by law is inappropriate and unable to work," chief of wild animal protection... where a dog meat recipe has been listed as a piece of cultural heritage.

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An official... a city that has a traditional catering industry based on dog meat, told... that the local economy and people's life would be terribly hurt by such a law.

"Cooking them alive must be punished but which meat to eat should be people's own choice," said a commentary... "Some people in China still can't afford meat. We should not blindly copy Western values."

(Reporting by... and Lucy...; Editing by Alex Richardson)