Legislators want Shanghai to be more furry-friendly to attract young people

China Daily Updated: 2024-01-29


A view of the Huangpu River in Shanghai. [Photo/VCG]

Legislators and political advisers in Shanghai have suggested that steps be taken to create a more pet-friendly environment, as it could make a difference in whether young people choose to live and work in the city.

At the annual sessions of the city's legislative and political advisory bodies that ended on Saturday, they suggested a certain ratio of public places and public transportation be more open to pets.

Lu Huiwen, a member of the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, submitted a proposal suggesting the city use a unified logo in shopping malls, parks, restaurants and hotels to show whether those places allow pets.

"Business entities and communities should clearly indicate whether they are pet-friendly on their websites and social platforms. In this way, the activity areas of pet owners and those who are scared of pets will largely not interfere with each other, which is conducive to the harmonious coexistence between people and pets," she said.

Some efforts have already been made to improve the environment for pets and animals in Shanghai in recent years. For example, a downtown shopping center in Jing'an district along Suzhou Creek allows pets in certain areas.

Lu suggested Shanghai expand the scope of its pet management and form specific rules covering registration, licensing, epidemic prevention, medical treatment and adoption.

"Relevant regulations should clarify the punishment for pet abandonment and abuse, and law enforcement should be stepped up accordingly," she said.

A report from PricewaterhouseCoopers on China's pet industry released in 2022 showed that half of all pet owners were born in the 1990s or later, 57 percent had a college degree or above, and roughly half of them were single.

"Domestic pets are playing an increasing role in companionship and stable emotional support in today's society," Lu said.

A pet-friendly environment will help foster new areas of consumption and drive the growth of jobs and tax revenue in related industries, said political adviser Yao Jinren.

He suggested creating a more complete regulation and supervision system for pet-related industries.

"I suggest e-chips for pets to raise the awareness of responsibility from their owners. Institutions providing medical treatment for pets could be subject to mandatory licensing and supervision," said Yao, who is also deputy manager of Taiping Life Insurance Co in the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone.

While encouraging the city to be more inclusive to pets, it is also imperative for pet owners to better manage their furry companions in public spaces to avoid conflicts or injuries.

Twelve legislators submitted a motion during the sessions, suggesting an increased penalty for those who walk their dogs without a leash. Lawmaker Pan Shuhong said the current penalty, a maximum fine of 200 yuan ($28) that can only be executed by police officers, often fails to work as a deterrent.

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