The authorities hope to control or even eradicate severe animal
diseases like bird flu and foot-and-mouth disease by 2015,
according to a recently released plan.
The authorities will set up a national animal
epidemic-prevention system to curb the spread of animal diseases,
according to a plan jointly issued by five government bodies,
including the National Development and Reform Commission and the
Ministry of Agriculture.
The government will spend nearly 9 billion yuan ($1.15 billion)
by 2008 to upgrade the country's epidemic-prevention
infrastructure, expand its supervision system and train more
veterinarians, according to the plan.
"As a result of the rapid expansion of China's poultry and
livestock breeding industry (and) the growing trade in animal
products, several severe animal diseases have begun to demonstrate
large-scale prevalence," the plan said.
Deaths caused by animal diseases were responsible for direct
economic losses of nearly 40 billion yuan ($5.13 billion) last
year, the plan said.
"The country's weak and inadequate epidemic-prevention system
has become a bottleneck that is stunting the development of the
livestock breeding industry," the plan said.
Close supervision and quarantines will help curb the frequency
of outbreaks of epidemics, which will bolster farmers' incomes and
increase exports of meat products, it added.
Livestock breeding has become a major source of income for
China's farmers, with more than 100 million people working in the
The bird-flu epidemic that broke out in 2004 cost farmers 8
billion yuan ($1.02 billion) in income nationwide, trimmed
companies' sales by 20 billion yuan ($2.57 billion) and destroyed
millions of jobs.
Though China is a leading producer of meat products, very few of
those products are exported. Only 1 percent of livestock and less
than 5 percent of aquatic products make their way abroad.
The authorities hope to establish animal disease control and
prevention centers in all 31 provinces and municipalities on the
mainland next year. They are also planning to build 2,293
county-level centers around the country.
Four national-level laboratories will be set up to identify and
analyze serious animal diseases like bird flu and bovine pests.
"An effective animal epidemic-prevention system means an overall
upgrade of disease supervision, control and fast response
capabilities, and a gradual elimination of some of the major animal
epidemics," said Wang Changjiang, a section chief of the Ministry
of Agriculture's veterinary bureau.
The plan's goal is to reduce direct economic losses, and
increase the production value of the poultry and livestock breeding
industry to 1.8 trillion yuan ($231 billion) by next year.
(China Daily January 17, 2007)