RSPCA awarded major grant to support China’s animal welfare
The RSPCA has been awarded a $450,000 (£359,000) grant by US foundation Open Philanthropy Project to support progress in Chinese animal welfare standards over two years.
The funding will allow RSPCA to work closely with the official International Co-operation Committee of Animal Welfare, which has been involved in bringing together Chinese stakeholders in the livestock farming and food retail sectors.
The general project will also use the RSPCA farm animal welfare standards and the organisation’s welfare labelling scheme, RSPCA Assured, as a model for a similar assurance and food labelling programme in China.
The news comes as consensus among China’s own scientists and food industry leaders around the importance of welfare appears to have grown, as this month farm animals were on the agenda of the annual National People’s Congress, the world’s largest parliament.
RSCPA’s head of International, Paul Littlefair, said: “This grant is a major step forward in our efforts to improve farm animal welfare in China. There is real and growing appetite both at Government level and among the public for ethically produced food and reliable food labelling. The scale of farming in China means there is an opportunity to make extremely broad and lasting impact on animal welfare.”
China is home to half of the world’s pigs and a third of its poultry. Overall, China’s meat, eggs and milk production has grown rapidly over recent decades, however average consumption is still half that of the US and far below Europe.
Littlefair added: “A higher welfare assurance scheme will enable Chinese consumers for the first time to think about the wellbeing of farm animals in their purchasing choices.”