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Animal Welfare to Be Legislated
For the first time, articles relating to animal welfare will be added to China’s animal protection laws and regulations, it was recently revealed at an international animal welfare and legislation seminar held in Beijing. The revised Laboratory Animal Management Regulation, passed to experts last week for recommendations, includes two key elements: animal safety and animal welfare.

The existing Laboratory Animal Management Regulation, issued more than 10 years ago, contains no reference to animal welfare, said He Zhengming, a researcher and deputy secretary-general of the China Laboratory Animal Society, the organization in charge of drafting the revised "animal welfare" regulation.

“In the past, the regulations only called on people to care about animals with no mention of ill-treatment,” said He. Ten years ago, internationally published domestic research papers only required laboratory animal inspection certificates of animals used for research purposes to be attached. However, with added emphasis being place on the protection of animals, certificates of approval from animal ethics committees are required, in addition to the certificates of inspection, when research papers are published.

He said the addition of animal welfare provisions in the Laboratory Animal Management Regulation is of crucial importance, otherwise international exchanges would be limited in the future.

Many countries have proposed laws on animal welfare, such as Australia and more than 10 countries in the European Union, said He. Animal welfare legislation has become an international trend.

It is reported that the animal welfare section to be added to the Laboratory Animal Management Regulation will require: workers engaged in laboratory research to take care for, and not hurt nor ill-treat animals in any way; research to be conducted in compliance with scientific principles; and animals to be treated as humanely as possible after the completion of laboratory tests.

(china.org.cn translated by Li Jingrong on November 21, 2002)

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