More Chinese vets trained in welfare-friendly techniques

ACTAsia has just successfully concluded its third annual veterinary training programme in China, with partners Vets Beyond Borders (VBB), from October 17th – 27th, 2011. The trip covered three cities: Beijing and Shenzhen where we have previously run programmes, and Dalian, where the government and animal protection groups have shown great interest in developing humane companion animal programmes.

Improving veterinary care

16 veterinarians participated in the training sessions in Dalian and Beijing, which covered humane and effective spay/neuter techniques, welfare improvement in a clinical setting, and the important role of vets in rabies prevention. We will continue to encourage participants to be part of larger companion animal welfare programmes in their areas following our training.

In Beijing and Shenzhen we followed up on our veterinary workshops conducted in 2009 and 2010 with on-site assessments, further training for potential Chinese vet trainers and question-and-answer sessions to develop our selected Chinese vet trainers and bring more on board.

Our assessments, at previous participants’ clinics, focused on improvements made since our workshops last year, and at these assessments the VBB trainers gave further advice on improvement of welfare and surgical techniques.

 

Chinese vets who had been selected as trainers from our previous years’ programmes had an opportunity to train new vets under the supervision of VBB trainers, thereby developing their confidence and brushing up on their teaching skills.

We plan to expand our training programme in this way, using local trainers to teach others and help vets to play a bigger part in improving companion animal welfare in China.

Developing humane stray control and rabies programmes

Companion animal welfare in China is severely compromised by the inhumane culling of dogs as a response to rabies outbreaks or overpopulation of stray animals, and the neglect/abuse in the rapidly growing pet industry. Factors that contribute to this situation are a lack of responsible pet ownership, humane stray animal control and legislation.

ACTAsia has focused on long term improvements in companion animal welfare in China, with diverse projects aimed at various audiences over the last five years. The relationships we have built will be useful to bring different stakeholders together for an integrated approach to companion animal welfare.

Our vet training programme is part of a larger effort to lay a foundation with government officials, veterinarians and animal groups for potential long term stray animal control and rabies prevention programmes. This programme will focus on spay/neuter/vaccination programmes and education/awareness.

As part of this programme, in Dalian we provided information and suggestions to government officials on the importance of setting up humane stray management and rabies prevention programmes. We also met municipal government officials in Dalian, Beijing and Shenzhen to establish potential working relationships and collaboration on companion animal management and humane rabies control.

 

The VBB team also gave a talk to Pet100 volunteers in Dalian to explain the importance of sterilisation and how humane stray animal control programmes can work, as animal groups are very important stakeholders in any long term effort.

Pei Su, ACTAsia’s Executive Director, said: “We were very pleased with our third Companion Animal Welfare programme to promote veterinary standards and techniques. We hope this will help vets to develop sterilisation programmes for stray animals with animal protection groups. We also hope that by providing knowledge and practical training to vets and seminars for local animal groups they will be able to give the government a clear picture of how to prevent rabies and control stray animal populations in a humane and effective manner so that inhumane mass culling is finally stopped forever.”

Acknowledgements

As always, this programme would not be possible without the trainers from Vets Beyond Borders, led by Dr Elaine Ong, with Dr Chris Barton, Ms Ann Letch and Ms Robyn Ireland.

Thanks also to our co-organisers: Vets Beyond Borders, Beijng Small Veterinary Association, Capital Animal Welfare Association and Pet100.

We are also grateful to the programme sponsors: International Fund for Cat Welfare (IFCW), Dr. Chris Barton (Diamond Valley Veterinary Hospital), Dr. Elaine Ong (Box Hill Veterinary Hospital), Mrs. Julian Chen and the Brigitte Bardot Foundation.