THE Chinese Government, regulators and veterinary groups are working towards completing a draft code for animal husbandry and slaughtering standards by June.
The Chinese Veterinary Medical Association is working with domestic livestock breeding and slaughtering enterprises to draft the standards.
The code will set standards for how animals are managed and fed on farm, while in the abattoir the program will cover processes including liairage, stunning and sticking of animals, according to a CVMA statement. The code will cover beef, pork poultry, sheep, and dairy cattle.
“Better animal welfare standards would improve animal health and epidemic prevention while also helping to enhance the value of livestock products, thus contributing to food safety and traceability,” the CVMA statement said
The new code will offer guidelines to China’s livestock industries on stocking density, as well as temperature, humidity and ammonia concentration levels in sheds and feedlots. It will also include feed and water quality standards.
“China’s standards are in their infancy compared to the EU and the US, which have sophisticated standards in place, reflected in the pricing of their livestock and meat products,” a spokesman said.
International organisations have been offering animal welfare training to China’s meat industry. The World Society for the Protection of Animals and Beijing Chaoyang Anhua Animal Product Safety Research Institute have been running a humane slaughter program in China, employing local Chinese trainers who have visited about 1000 slaughterhouses. Technical standards for slaughtering pigs have been introduced, based on those set by the World Organisation for Animal Health.
As the world’s largest livestock producer and consumer, China has more than 400 million cattle, sheep and goats. The country has been slow to move into addressing animal welfare issues, but in recent years there has been increasing awareness and the preparation of a draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Law. The legislation is due to come before China’s parliament in March.