ABC News Corona Virus Health and Science

China unveils new list of animals that can be farmed for meat

COVID-19 is thought to have originated at a Wuhan wet market.

The draft list was released Thursday by the country's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and is available online for a public comment period.

The list of acceptable livestock and poultry includes 18 species of traditional staples such as pig, cow, chicken, sheep, goat and more.

The government document also designates 13 species of "special livestock" such as deer, reindeer, alpaca and others.

It also includes a special category of livestock that can be raised for fur but not for food including mink, foxes and raccoons.

China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs noted in a statement accompanying the list that dogs "have been 'specialized' from traditional domestic animals to companion animals" and should not be included as "livestock" for food.

Chinese officials had initially linked the COVID-19 outbreak to large, live animal markets in Wuhan where many of the cases originated.

Ebola, SARS, bird flu and now COVID-19 are all believed to have started as pathogens crossing from animals to humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about three-quarters of new human diseases originate in animals.

In late February, Chinese lawmakers adopted a decision to prohibit the trading of wildlife and eliminate the trade and consumption of wild animals after the outbreak emerged, according to the nation's state-run news organization Xinhua.

What to know about coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: Coronavirus symptoms
  • Tracking the spread in the U.S. and worldwide: Coronavirus map
  • ABC News' Maggie Rulli and Lindsey Griswold contributed to this report.

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