Artificial breeding of wildlife is allowed in China according to the Wildlife Protection Law. The current legal framework is under the Wildlife Protection Law (2018 amendment) and its implementing rules and regulations. The law was created in 1988 and was revised in 2016. The latest revision process started in 2020 after the pandemic of COVID-19. There is no official translation for the Chinese name “野生动物保护法,” which could be translated either as the Wildlife Protection Law or Wildlife Conservation Law.*Please note that the Chinese name does not change.
Before 2020, the species that were allowed for artificial breeding are within the List of National Key Protected Aquatic Wild Animals for Artificial Breeding or List of National Key Protected Terrestrial Wild Animals in 2017, including sika deer, red deer, common ostrich, greater rhea, Giant Asian pond turtle, Nile crocodile, saltwater crocodile, siamese crocodile, hoplobatrachus tigerinus, golden coin turtle, Chinese giant salamander, Chinese high-fin banded shark, Wattle-necked softshell turtle, trachidermus fasciatus, and Golden-line barbel.
After 2020, only the terrestrial animals that belong to the list of National Catalogue of Livestock and Poultry Genetic Resources, 2020 can be artificially bred for food consumption purpose, which includes sika deer, red deer, reindeer, alpaca, turkey, guinea fowl, pheasant, partridge, muscovy, mallard, ostrich, emu, mink*, silver fox*, arctic fox*, raccoon dog*. (* These species are not for the purpose of food consumption.)
The wildlife was regulated for the first time in China in 1983 in the document of “A Circular Decree of the State Council Concerning Strict Protection of Precious and Rare Wild Animals” (1983) (Decree No. 62  of the State Council). The first Wildlife Protection Law, “Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Wildlife” was published in 1988. The law was amended two times according to the changes in the Criminal Law and Public Security Penalties Law in 2004 (2004 Amendment) and 2009 (2009 Amendment). From 2015 to 2016, the law was revised through 3 draft versions, and the Revision was published in 2016 as “Wild Animal Conservation Law of the People's Republic of China (2016 Revision).” Further, the law was amended in 2018 with some detailed expressions. After the pandemic of COVID-19, the law was under a new revision process in 2020.
Wildlife Protection Law was followed by two implementing regulations which are Implementation Regulation of the Peoples' Republic of China on the Protection of Terrestrial Wild Animals (1992, amended in 2011 and 2016) and Implementation Regulations of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Aquatic Wild Animals (1993, amended in 2011 and 2013). Domestication and breeding were regulated in the Measures for the Administration of the Domestication and Breeding License of Wild Animals under Special State Protection (1991, revised in 2015).
The list of National Key Protected Wild Animals was promulgated in 1988, and revised in 2003 and 2021. In 2021, the National Key Protected Wild Animals was revised, including 980 species in 8 categories. On the basis of all the species in the original list, 517 species (types) of wild animals were added to the new list. 65 species of jackal and Yangtze finless porpoise have been upgraded from the national second-level protected wild animals to the first-level.
In 2003, temporarily strict control measures were implemented in all aspects of wild animal hunting, sale, purchase, transportation, import and export, domestication, and breeding by the government as the impact of SARS.
The List of National Key Protected Aquatic Wild Animals for Artificial Breeding was promulgated by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2017, the List of National Key Protected Terrestrial Wild Animals in Artificial Breeding was promulgated by the State Forestry Administration in 2017.
In 2020, wildlife trade was temporarily banned, and artificial breeding for food purposes was banned as the impact of COVID-19.
The list of Terrestrial animals that be raised for food consumption is limited to the list of National Catalogue of Livestock and Poultry Genetic Resources, 2020. The Catalogue includes 33 species, which are divided into two categories as 17 species of Traditional livestock and poultry (Pigs, common cattle, zebu, buffalo, yak, large-headed cattle, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, camels, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons, quail) and 16 species of Special livestock and poultry (Sika deer, red deer, reindeer, alpaca, turkey, guinea fowl, pheasant, partridge, muscovy, mallard, ostrich, emu, mink*, silver fox*, arctic fox*, raccoon dog*. (* These species are not for the purpose of food consumption.) Animals within this list shall be regulated under the Livestock Law.