At the project inception, the Australian and New Zealand World Animal Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Animal Welfare and Bioethical Analysis teamed up with Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) to increase awareness of standards for slaughter and transportation via land, sea and air in SE Asia; The Animal Welfare Standards Project. This stage of the project was funded by the New Zealand, Australian and Malaysian governments, World Animal Protection and UPM, with contributions from the Humane Slaughter Association and the lead organisation, the University of Queensland in Australia. In this phase, emphasis was placed on slaughter and transport, and workshops were conducted in China, Thailand, Viet Nam and Malaysia, along with research.
Funding for Phase 2 of this project was secured from Open Philanthropy to focus on capacity building through training and research with local collaborators. Farming and slaughter were a focus, and China was the primary country collaborator for this phase.
China is the world’s highest producer of farmed pork, chicken and eggs, with over half a billion pigs thought to be on farms, 20 million slaughtered per week, 5 billion chickens raised for slaughter per year and estimates of over 2,600 billion hens in battery cages (FAO, 2016).
The primary objectives were designed to support the OIE Regional Animal Welfare Strategy for South East Asia, through local collaboration and expertise.
1. To enhance stakeholder knowledge of OIE slaughter and farming systems standards in China.
2. To utilise Subject Matter Experts to provide training for key personnel involved in farming systems and slaughter practices in China, with the aim of improving animal welfare standards.
3. To conduct valuable social research to determine attitudes to farming and slaughter amongst key stakeholders, and perceived motivations and barriers to improved welfare practices.
The project continues to grow and Phase 3, funded by the Good Ventures Foundation, USA, will apply 5 years of research to establish an internationally collaborative, but locally owned, animal welfare centre in China.
China has the ability to be a world leader with the appropriate development of local Chinese animal welfare experts who can create Chinese solutions to animal welfare challenges and help develop the first livestock welfare legislation in the country.
The team plans to establish similar collaborative centres in South East and East Asia to assist capacity building professionals to address animal welfare concerns in locally meaningful and domestically led ways.