Over this last weekend I was fortunate to be invited, along with Twiggy Cheung our China Outreach Director and our Welfare director Dr. Fiona Woodhouse, to attend the an historic International Forum on Chinese Legislation for the Protection and Management of Animals in Beijing.
The 180 people attending included academics and animal welfare representatives from across China as well as a cross section of international animal welfare representatives and animal welfare law experts.
The forum served as the unveiling of the first ever “Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Law of the PRC” (Experts Draft Proposal). It must be stressed that this is a draft proposal which requires finalising and then presenting to the National People’s Congress. There is still a very long way to go, but one can not help but feel incredibly excited that something that started as a small meeting and personal introductions three years ago has grown to become the first Draft Animal Welfare (anti- cruelty law) for China.
This remarkable achievement is largely down to the inspiring Chang Jiwen, Professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Law, and his amazing team of academics who have had the vision and have worked so hard on this project. It was very much to their credit how they encouraged and welcomed input from those present on the many very complicated issues that need to be addressed. They did an excellent job.
It was also very encouraging to witness and hear, how in just a few years, animal welfare and the prevention of cruelty, has become a matter of great importance and concern with so many across China.
Admittedly it is only a first step, but it’s a very big one and there is now certainly just cause for an era of hope and optimism ahead.