UQ project works to boost Chinese livestock welfare

The welfare of millions of animals in China—where more livestock are raised and slaughtered than in any other nation—is the focus of a project led by the University of Queensland’s School of Veterinary Science.

Project manager and PhD student Michelle Sinclair said the Animal Welfare Standards Project involved UQ researchers working with Chinese industry professionals to improve the welfare of animals during farming and slaughter.

“China doesn’t have any animal welfare legislation, and the concept of animal welfare is not yet well-developed,” Sinclair said.

“We know very little about Chinese livestock stakeholders and why they make the choices they do in animal welfare.”

UQ Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics director Professor Clive Phillips said the project harnessed expertise from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States in a collaboration with partners at the Southern China Agricultural University at Guangzhou.

“Awareness of animal welfare is growing in China, and we will be working closely with the livestock industries to improve the competence of staff in managing animal welfare to a high standard,” he said.

Sinclair is completing PhD research in understanding how to engage livestock stakeholders across Asia, Australia and New Zealand in improving animal welfare.

“This is a unique opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of many animals in China, and to help alleviate suffering in the livestock industries there, particularly with pigs and poultry,” she said.

Sinclair, Professor Phillips and UQ adjunct professor Peter Thornber recently drafted the first poultry animal welfare guidelines for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

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