Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has urged his 15.1 million Instagram followers to help China reclassify dogs as 'pets' rather than 'livestock'.
The country recently published guidelines branding dogs 'companions' alongside a draft document of the National Catalogue of Livestock and Poultry Genetic Resources – which lists animals that can be legally traded for meat, fur, and medical purposes.
'This has to stop'
On his Instagram stories, Hamilton wrote: "To all my fans in China. I'd be so grateful if you could vote and push for this. This has to stop."
He shared an image from 'Little China Dog Rescue' urging people to support the announcement, which is open to public consultation until May 8.
The new guidelines come after the immediate ban on eating and trading wild animals following the coronavirus (COVID 19) outbreak - which is thought to have originated from a 'wet' market in Wuhan, China - globally killing more than 94,000 at the time of writing.
"With the progress of human civilization and the public's concern and preference for animal protection, dogs have changed from traditional domestic animals to companion animals," said China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
"Dogs are generally not regarded as livestock and poultry around the world, and China should also not manage them as livestock and poultry."