RSPCA wins grant to support farm animal welfare in China
The RSPCA has been given a grant of nearly £360,000 by the Open Philanthropy Project, an American foundation, to support its work in China on improving farm animal welfare.
China is home to half of the world’s pigs and a third of its poultry. The grant is worth $450,000 (£359,000) over two years and the project will use the RSPCA farm animal welfare standards and its higher welfare labelling scheme, RSPCA Assured, as a model for a similar assurance and food labelling programme in China.
“This award will allow us to work closely with the official International Co-operation Committee of Animal Welfare, a key institution involved in bringing together Chinese stakeholders in the livestock farming and food retail sectors,” said an RSPCA spokesman.
Paul Littlefair, RSPCA Head of International, said: “This grant is a major step forward in our efforts to improve farm animal welfare in China. There is a real appetite both at government level and among the public for ethically produced food and reliable food labelling. The scale of farming in China means there is an opportunity to make an extremely broad and lasting impact on animal welfare.”
The RSPCA co-hosted the country’s first conference on the subject in 2005. “At that time, we responded to the Chinese authorities’ concern for food safety, emphasising the impact of the poor treatment of animals on farms, during transport and at slaughter on the safety and quality of meat and dairy products,” said a spokesman. “Over the following years, we brought some of the world’s leading welfare scientists to Beijing to share their experience and research findings.
“Since then, the consensus among China’s own scientists and food industry leaders around the importance of welfare has steadily grown. Every March the 3,000 delegates of the National People’s Congress – the world’s largest parliament – come together in Beijing for a week of intense discussion on the major issues confronting the country’s society and economy.
“This month, farm animals were firmly on the agenda as scientist and Congress delegate Zhao Wanping called for China to legislate for stronger welfare measures for farm animals. He stressed that achieving welfare in Chinese livestock production will be a step-by-step process of gradual improvements driven by increasing consumer awareness and demand for ‘safer, greener and healthier’ food.”