Municipal health authorities in a city in Hebei Province, China said that they have rescinded an order to cull the pets of people who test positive for COVID-19, after a copy of the order went viral on social media, sparking outrage among citizens.
China’s Sina.com reported that the document titled “Urgent Notice on Rapidly Carrying Out the Work of Culling of Domestic Animals of Positive Patients” was issued by the “Epidemic Prevention and Control Leading Group Office” in Anci District, Langfang City, on March 29. The document ordered that all relevant departments are required to “quickly, resolutely, decisively, thoroughly, and as soon as possible” cull animals raised in the residences of COVID-positive patients to “ensure the safety of the masses returning home.”
The order also emphasized that if the “positive patient household” has animals at home that have not been culled, the quarantined patients are “resolutely not allowed to return home.”
Hong Kong’s “am730” news website reported that the document went viral on the Internet on the 29th, and Chinese netizens were outraged after reading it. Citizens commenting on social media said that many people regard pets as family members.
“The confirmed patients cooperated with epidemic prevention, but the result is that their pets are ruthlessly slaughtered,” one person wrote. “It’s not the virus that people fear now, but some devils more poisonous than viruses,” wrote another.
Chinese media outlet The Paper quoted staff of the Anci District Agriculture and Rural Bureau office who confirmed that they had received relevant notices, but said they hadn’t started culling yet.
At about 5:00 pm March 30, the Langfang CDC told the media that this work had stopped, and the Anci District Prevention and Control Office also issued an apology on the 30th, emphasizing that the culling work had not yet started before the order was rescinded.
“After careful study and reminders and suggestions from the majority of enthusiastic citizens,” “we found that this policy is indeed inappropriate, and the notice has been withdrawn and the implementation has been stopped,” said an official.
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