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Animal rights on the agenda in China

2009-06-28 12:25 BJT

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China has come out with a draft of the country's first law on animal protection. For the first time in Chinese legislation, criminal punishment for animal cruelty is being proposed.

The proposed draft clearly delineates how animals should be raised, transported, and slaughtered in a humane way.

It also calls for penalties and criminal punishment for animal abuse and cruelty.

The draft law covers wildlife, farm and companion animals.

Legal experts worked on the draft for seven months. Dr. Chang Jiwen, of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, led the team.

Dr. chang Jiwen, director of Social Law Research DEpartment of CASS, said, "Our motivations for drafting this law is to protect animals, while at the same time protecting the sensibilities and interests of human beings. We should treat animals humanely. But that doesn't mean we cannot make use of them."

Currently in China, only animals on the endangered species list are protected. And no existing law addresses animal welfare systematically.

A comprehensive animal protection law is considered imperative as cases of animal abuse are on the rise.

Last month at least 30 thousand dogs were culled in Hanzhong, Shaanxi province, following a rabies outbreak which caused 12 death.

The cull has triggered ire and harsh criticism from the general public.

An expert from the International Fund for Animal Welfare welcomes the move for legislation.