‘Train the Trainers Veterinary Program’ pays dividends for animals in China

Back in 2008, ACTAsia (together with our partners Vets for Compassion) began working in China to help improve companion animal welfare. It was a difficult time for us as animals were still thought to be objects and incapable of feeling pain. 

At the time, surgical standards for spaying and neutering companion animals were well behind international standards. Most animals needed their entire abdominal area bandaged for as long as ten days to avoid wound infections; and frighteningly there were many occasions when animals were operated on without proper anaesthesia induced first.

Animals would go home without painkillers and post-care of a stray animal after neutering could take more than two weeks recovery. Naturally, this caused undue pain and stress for the animals, and an awful situation for animal owners and rescuers.

It was for these reasons that ACTAsia initiated the Train the Trainers program for veterinarians in China. We wanted the most direct animal carers to understand about the needs and welfare of animals through education.

With much persistence, a lot has changed since then… More people in China are aware of animal sentience and the adoption of pets is increasing every day.  This makes it even more important to ensure that vets in China are well-equipped to act as animal advocates within their own country to:

  • operate with high surgical standards so that recovery time is no more than 24-48 hours
  • treat their own patients (owned or strays) appropriately
  • widely educate pet owners on appropriate care and welfare of animals
  • promote neutering and Rabies vaccinations
  • advise government bodies
  • train other vets

However, sometimes the task seems insurmountable – the sheer numbers of vets (and companion animals in China) are exorbitant – and much higher than ACTAsia and VFC can ever hope to train with one visit per year to the country. This is why 2017 has become an important year!

We have now got 15 Chinese vets who are fully trained and certified by VFC to act as Trainers. This means that they will each conduct trainings of other Chinese vets every year. These Chinese vets are now teaching other vets the proper procedures and knowledge to care for companion animals. Through the train the trainer programme, the network will continue to grow exponentially as more vets come on board and then train others. This year they aim to conduct two training workshops for training other Chinese vets in two cities. The training will allow them to reach over 200 vets with theoretical knowledge and around 16 vets with hands-on training.

In order to encourage more vets to join our Train the Trainer programme and reward existing Trainers for their pro-bono work, we invited Professors David Maggs and Lynelle Johnson (ophthalmology and cardio-respiratory specialists respectively) who kindly visited Hangzhou to share their knowledge and experience in March 2017.

Dr. Elaine Ong and Joanna Chan from VFC also gave talks and practical training on the topics of animal welfare, emergency procedures and dental work.

All vets and certified Trainers would like to thank you for your continued support!