China vet training: 97 per cent had no concept of animal welfare

03 September 2019

Animals Asia Senior Veterinarian Emily Drayton is training vet students

Vet training drive aims to upskill China’s vets with animal welfare basics which are currently lacking, causing pain to animals by those employed to help them. 

While modern surgical and medical equipment is now common in China’s veterinary care sector, many vets do not gain essential training in order to give their patients the care they need. 

Recent polls taken by Animals Asia during veterinary training sessions in China revealed that 97 per cent of attendees had no concept of animal welfare, while 100 per cent had never heard of the five freedoms – the foundation of modern animal welfare. 

More worryingly still, while 100 per cent of those at the workshops agreed that animals feel pain, none prescribed pain relief medication to manage chronic pain, while analgesia used in surgeries is often not sufficient to relieve surgical pain.

 READ MORE: China Vet Training Programme Expands with Animal Welfare at its Heart

READ MORE: Chinese Vet Students Learn Life-long Animal Welfare Lessons

CAU students learn veterinary skills

Animals Asia Founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE said: 

“It’s disturbing to think that surgery is being carried out on millions of animals every year, without even the basics of anaesthesia. There is a huge gap in knowledge here which is causing a significant amount of suffering and we are keen to fill it with empirical knowledge in how to better care for animals.” 

To boost welfare, Animals Asia trains Chinese vets in the principles of animal welfare, primarily focusing on anaesthesia and pain management.

Models used for practical vet training

Training has been carried out with veterinary students as well as newly graduated and practicing vets.

In addition to presentations, workshops and training weeks around the country, Animals Asia also provides veterinary training at the charity’s China Bear Rescue Centre in Chengdu. 

The award-winning sanctuary even runs an annual vet internship programme to train talented Chinese veterinary graduates in welfare, nursing and anaesthesia as well as both wildlife and small animal medicine and surgery. 

In 2020, Animals Asia’s veterinary animal welfare programme will expand to provide training at 10 universities while continuing the established format of pain management workshops.

Vets clamour to use new practical materials

Animals Asia Senior Veterinarian Emily Drayton said:

“A general lack of awareness of animal welfare and the lack of understanding for animals’ ability to feel pain is causing acute suffering, very likely on a truly massive scale within China’s veterinary care system.

“Over many years we have provided quality, consistent and targeted training to thousands of enthusiastic veterinarians in China – training which these dedicated vets have greatly appreciated and taken on board to the benefit of their patients. 

 “The vets we have worked with have a great passion to do better by their patients and we are determined to use that fact to scale up our programme. Not only can vets enhance the welfare of the animals they come in contact with, they can also play a huge role in educating their local communities. 

“We’ll continue to do everything we can to support Chinese vets in this role, arming them with the knowledge and skills they need to improve the lives of animals in their communities on a massive scale.” 

Staff and volunteers comfort animals in the clinic