November 13, 2017
China's first-ever animal welfare standards passed by government
Created jointly by the Chinese Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) Medical Branch together with more than 30 companies along the feed to food chain, China's first-ever animal welfare standards have been passed by the National Animal Husbandry Standardization Committee.
CVMA says the standards, named "Animal Welfare Evaluation Principles", would help in the sustainable development of the animal husbandry industry in China, improve practices in the feeding and use of animals, and encourage a harmonious relationship between humans and animals.
"These are the very first Chinese industry standards, literally containing the words 'animal welfare', passed by the Ministry of Agriculture," said the secretary of the Animal Welfare Branch of CVMA, Sun Zhongchao, DVM, in a statement. Sun specialises in preventive veterinary medicine.
The standards approved thus far cover the scope, methods, basic principles and requirements for animal welfare evaluation. For species-specific quantitative indicators, they are progressively been submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture for review, Sun said.
According to Sun, in future there would be three available avenues for animal welfare evaluation: self-evaluation by the organisation; evaluation by accreditation bodies and personnel; evaluation by industry associations or government authorities.
CVMA plans to start welfare evaluation and accreditation for the animal husbandry, livestock transportation and slaughtering sectors by the end of this year, further contributing to the provision of healthy animal food products for the public.
According to Sun, while the Chinese animal husbandry industry has been developing rapidly to meet the rising demand for food in the country, a slew of food safety issues have ensued. "Poor animal welfare practices characterised by high-density housing and poor environmental conditions encourage the spread of pathogens, increase drug usage, and lead to increased levels of antibiotic residues in food products. Accordingly, research has shown that improvements in animal welfare can improve the quality of animal food products, help raise product prices, and improve overall profit for the farm," Sun concludes.