Chinese animal protection groups, law drafters and concerned influential academics came together for the first time at a forum to promote animal welfare legislation in Beijing, China on 4th September 2009. Our organising partners were the Capital Animal Welfare Association and the Alliance for Animals in China.
Qin Xiao Na, Director of the Capital Animal Welfare Association, Beijing, commented: “At the forum, people from different fields and academic disciplines had the opportunity to learn, exchange ideas and start building relationships which should result in speeding up the process of passing animal protection laws in China.”
Legislation is desperately needed to stop the widespread abuse to animals in China. An animal protection law for China is currently being drafted by law academics. If this results in animal protection legislation being passed it would be a vital step to help local animal protectionists stop animal abuse in this country.
Scholars from all over China together with over 30 animal groups working in the front line of animal protection in different provinces attended this forum, with around 100 participants registered.
Attendees include academics from leading universities and institutes, including the University of Beijing, University of Qinhu, Chinese Agriculture University, China University of Political Science and Law, Sun Yat-Sen University and Zhongnan University of Economics and Law. People’s Representatives from Beijing Municipality and officials from the legislative office of the CPPCC (Chinese People's Political Consultative Committee) also attended the forum.
The forum discussed the importance of ethics in relation to animal welfare, and the implications of China’s history, culture and social and economic environment on animal protection legislation. Chinese experts presented the current situation of animals in China in different industries, including farming, vivisection, captive wildlife and companion animals. Experts from Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan covered the creation of legislation and enforcement issues, and how they were dealt with in their regions. This helped the attendees to understand what issues could arise as legislation is passed and implemented. Participants also discussed the elements needed in Chinese legislation, and what would help to convince the government to pass laws to protect animals.
According to Dr Gao Li Hong from the Environmental Law Study Centre, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, one of the drafters of the proposed legislation, “A forum for promotion of animal protection legislation should become a regular opportunity, to bring stakeholders together to discuss various views and differences in animal protection legislation, and to provide a platform for communication about the development of national animal protection legislation.”
Dr. Gao Li Hong, Feng Yongfeng (Senior Editor of Guang Ming Daily) and Dr. Jason Yeh in a panel discussion with all forum participants on the animal welfare legislation in China.
Dr Yeh, from the University of Taiwan, a veterinarian who created the first draft of animal protection law in Taiwan in 1993, stated: “During the history of legislation and the process of civilisation in human society, concern towards and protection of other races or species and even the compromise of some of our own benefits to define these clearly in legislation are among the highest outcomes of a moral society. I am pleased to hear that China has started to prepare relevant animal protection legislation and would like to congratulate it in advance for a smooth and successful journey. I hope the Taiwan experience can provide some insight for consideration when drafting China's animal protection law. "
Following our forum, the first draft of animal protection legislation created by Chinese law academics and funded by IFAW and the RSPCA was released for public comments. The draft is available in Chinese and English.
We are currently working with Chinese and international experts to provide comments on the draft legislation. We will also continue to bring Chinese animal protection groups into the process. Their efforts are vital to ensure that any legislation focuses on the best interests of the animals and is enforced effectively.
Directly following the forum, a two-day workshop was held for 30 animal protectionists from all over China, to help them to understand their important role in creating and implementing good laws. They will learn skills to reach out to the public, build relationships with the media and utilise media opportunities effectively. ACTAsia has been holding annual workshops for animal protection groups in China since 2006.
This programme was sponsored by Care for the Wild International, Humane Society International, Animals Asia Foundation, and One Voice for animals.
Although this forum occurred a while back it is important to remember that there are a lot of animal protections groups in China that are fighting for animal rights.
It is hoped that the Chinese Government heeds the animal lover´s clamour against animal abuse in China.
China has a date with history and undoubtedly will play a key role in world politics in the next decades. People from around the world have their eyes on China and perhaps are looking up to it for some kind of leadership into their own future.
May then China give a good example to the world in all aspects including the animal rights, so that cruel enterprises such as selling animal as key rings (Video 1) become a thing of the past. Let us hope so indeed.
Video 1. Live animals used as keychains.