Codifying a “Compassion for Living Things”Posted by Stephan Otto, ALDF's Director of Legislative Affairs on April 5, 2010
China Considers First Comprehensive Animal Protection Law
Eight years ago, my colleague Pamela Frasch represented ALDF at the first international animal law and protection conference held in China. In the years since then, committed individuals in and around China have been working to draft and build support for the country’s first comprehensive legislation aimed at providing China’s animals with basic protections. Their efforts appear to be gaining traction. An online poll last year found more than 80% of respondents in favor of such legislation.
The proposal categorizes animals in China dependent upon their usage in society and affords them various levels of protections. Categories include: "wild", "economic", "pet", "laboratory" and "other" (e.g. animals used in zoos, for performance, sports, competition and working) animals. Among the many civil and criminal protections included in this landmark legislation are:
- Protections against cruelty and abandonment [Estimates in Beijing alone place the number stray dogs and cats there at more than 100,000 animals]
- Restrictions on the indiscriminate killing of vaccinated animals [Disease outbreaks have, in recent years, prompted mass cullings of dogs]
- Increased regulation of hunting, slaughter and transport of animals
- Reduction in the use of research animals and improvements in their handling and treatment
- Education of the public on preventing cruelty
- Prohibitions on images of cruelty
- Prohibitions on tail docking, declawing, defanging and other alterations of an animal’s appearance
- Prohibitions against feeding live prey to animals in zoos and wild animal parks
- Prohibitions on the removal of organs or derivatives from a live animal for commercial purposes
China, the world’s largest and most populated country, is home to over 1.3 billion people, or over 20% of the world’s human population, together with billions of animals. Should this legislation be passed into law, it is arguably positioned to have an impact on more animals than any other single piece of animal protection legislation to date in the world.