China seems to be on a roll these days with animal welfare measures, and we couldn’t be happier. The country certainly has a long way to go, of course, since abuse is still prevalent and the traditional Chinese medicine industry places many animals at risk, but the country does appear to be taking steps in the right direction.

Just last week, China joined 29 other nations in criminalizing poaching, making it a serious crime that is enforceable under international law. China has also showed signs of opposition to Canada’s dwindling sealing industry and might be “mulling a ban” on seal products. (Let’s hope this will turn out to be true!)

Most recently, this past Sunday to be exact, China’s central authorities published a regulation that “explicitly [rules] out dishes contain[ing] shark fins, bird nests, and wild animal products in official reception dinners,” reports Xinhuanet News. This rule accompanies many others that seek to “promote frugality, oppose extravagance and enhance the anti-corruption drive among Party and governmental authorities.”

Quite a step for China, no? If the elite are barred from consuming shark fin soup and other wild animal products at high social functions, it can certainly cause ripple effects across the country and encourage others to scrutinize their eating habits. Plus, it will put a strain on the ecologically damaging shark fin industry, which kills a staggering 100 million sharks every year.

According to the Bangkok Post, shark fin soup has been off the official reception menu since 2012, although some establishments still continued to serve it. However, the demand for the soup was drastically reduced “after many high-end hotels and restaurants stopped serving the dish … [and] other expensive delicacies.”

Thanks to the China’s new rule banning the soup and other wildlife products from official functions, hopefully more hotels and restaurants will follow suit and stop serving these dishes which we all know are abuse in a bowl, not exotic “delicacies.”

Image source: Cloneofsnakes / Wikipedia Commons