The RSPCA has welcomed the fact that China is preparing proposals forthe country’s first ever law to protect both domestic and farm animals from cruelty.

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The recommendations, drawn up in consultation with the RSPCA, will be submitted to the government by the drafting committee by the end of the year, and include laws both to protect pets and cover how farm animals should be raised, transported and slaughtered.

Paul Littlefair, a senior manager with the RSPCA’s international department, said: “We are delighted that China is making steady progress towards bringing in its first ever animal protection legislation.”

According to the charity, only endangered species are currently protected in China, and there isno penalty for abusing or killing other animals. Over the last fewyears there have been reports of increasing levels of deliberate animalcruelty in the country, and several high-profile incidents haveattracted widespread public condemnation and intense media coverage.

In June 2009, the inhumane methods used in the indiscriminate andlarge-scale killing of around 30,000 dogs following rabies outbreaks inChina attracted not only international but also domestic criticism.

Mr Littlefair said: “RSPCA International has been actively engaged with China for 10 years now, gradually building support for animal welfare among officials and academics. Most recently we have joined the International Fund for Animal Welfare in backing Professor Chang Jiwen and the drafting committee’s work through workshops and meetings. We hope a draft law will be ready towards the end of 2009.

“Professor Chang and his colleagues on the committee feel that a basic anti-cruelty law has wide public support and is achievable within the next three years, and that a more comprehensive ‘welfare’ law – perhaps promoting a ‘duty of care’ – is expected in the future.”

Click here to watch a news report on Chinas first ever animal protection law from CCTV International (CCTV-9), theEnglish-language 24-hour news channel of China Central Television,China´s largest national TV network.

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