Chinese high schools to offer official animal welfare module for the first time ever

30 January 2018

Students got to interact with a dog (2)

A new biology curriculum launched by the Ministry of Education gives high schools the option of educating millions of students on the ethical treatment of animals.

Unveiled this month, the optional module aims to cultivate students’ respect for life by teaching them about the welfare of companion animals such as cats and dogs as well as wild animals, farm animals and captive animals.

In its guidance, the Ministry of Education recommended that teachers educate students on the harm done to animals who are kept and killed for human consumption in an abusive, cruel way.

It also advised teachers to combine academic learning with field visits to stray animal rescue centres or farms, ultimately with the objective of conveying the necessity of animal welfare legislation in China.

“Teachers should help students to learn about animal welfare and realise the necessity of animal welfare legislation,” the Ministry of Education said.

Students will have the option of taking the brand-new animal welfare module from September this year.

students and dogs interacting

Responding to the news, Animals Asia’s Welfare Director Dave Neale said:

“China has taken a hugely significant step, one we hope will inspire other countries. I am not aware of any other national curriculum that has developed a module on animal welfare specifically.

“We believe this points to a growing commitment by the Chinese authorities to reduce the suffering of animals by raising awareness, through education, of the value and importance of animals’ well-being. We look forward to supporting this pioneering initiative in any way we can.”

Although China has no animal welfare legislation in place, the animal welfare movement has begun to mushroom in the enormous country, helped in part by the growing popularity of companion animals among the burgeoning middle class.

In 2015 alone, up to 100 million animals - mainly cats and dogs - were registered as companion animals in China.

One of the biggest differences can be seen in the level of grassroots support that has grown, with more and more people motivated to build the compassionate world they want to live in.

Thirty years ago, there was only one animal welfare charity in China. Today there are more than 200 organisations with a presence in almost every province of the country. Over 100 of these charities are funded and advised by global animal welfare charity Animals Asia.

Love Animal Model School  IMG_4939-1

Animals Asia Founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE said:

“We applaud the Chinese government’s decision to introduce animal welfare as a high school subject, thereby opening the hearts and minds of young people across the country to the needless suffering of animals.

“Our education programmes already show that, by spreading awareness among students, a spark of compassion can be ignited that will inspire them to become the next generation of animal champions, doing all they can to save and improve animal lives. For the cruelty to end, we need their engagement as much as the support of the government, the public, media, community and charity groups.”

Set up in 1998, Animals Asia has been working to end the bear bile trade in Asia, while campaigning against animal performances in zoos, circuses and national parks.

Working with partner organisations to raise awareness, the foundation also focuses on promoting responsible companion animal management in China and Vietnam, and ending the trade in the consumption of dogs and cats.

Animals Asia’s Cat and Dog Welfare work in China is carried out by Ya Dong, a consultancy wholly owned and advised by Animals Asia.

Love Animal Model School  IMG_5056-1