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Lawmakers warn of epidemic animal disease threats
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Chinese lawmakers warned Tuesday of a "grave hidden peril" of epidemic animal disease because of inadequate monitoring facilities and a complex international environment.

Even though the government has set up a compulsory vaccination system, requiring immunization of animals against diseases harmful to people's health and the husbandry industry, the possibility of outbreaks of disease still existed, the lawmakers said in a report presented at the 10th session of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC).

The problems of excessive veterinary drug residues and banned food additives in livestock products were not fully under control in certain areas, the report said.

The lawmakers suggested the government subsidize treatment of animal carcasses that had died from disease or unknown causes to contain animal epidemics.

They also said there should be relevant authorities to standardize use of veterinary drugs, strengthen and improve monitoring of the production and distribution of livestock products.

The lawmakers also proposed nationwide inspections for excessive veterinary drug residues and banned food additives be put in place in the near future.

As the world's largest producer of poultry, livestock and aquatic food products, China has a lot to lose from outbreaks of animal diseases. It is estimated they cost China 40 billion yuan annually.

In 2007, China's top legislature adopted an amendment to the law on prevention of epidemic animal disease, which ordered all animal owners to comply with compulsory vaccination policies, especially owners of poultry and livestock bred in rural backyards, and pets in urban houses.

Tuesday was the second day of the legislature's four-day meeting, which is usually held every two months.

(Xinhua News Agency August 26, 2009)

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