Teaching hearts and minds in the veterinary profession

On 25 March 2019, ACTAsia and Vets for Compassion (VFC) hosted an Anniversary Gala Dinner in Beijing, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their Companion Animal Veterinary Training programme. 

The professional education programme was launched in 2009 by partners ACTAsia and VFC, to help veterinarians in China learn fundamental clinical veterinary skills, and promote animal welfare within the profession. International veterinary experts offer professional training to Chinese vets, including the use of anaesthesia in surgery, pain relief, rabies prevention, flank-spay methods for humane population control, aseptic practice, and general consideration of animal welfare and emotional well-being.

The programme enables veterinarians to become ambassadors for animal welfare in China, and through the Train the Trainer intiative to take their knowledge and understanding and share it through peer-to-peer training. Workshops have taken place in many cities across China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanning, Yulin, and Qinghai. Around 1,300 Chinese veterinarians have taken part.


At the anniversary event, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) and ACTAsia announced the launch of their educational partnership, while the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) announced the establishment of a dedicated fund to assist ACTAsia in further developing projects in China. ACTAsia also presented a series of Caring for Life Animal Welfare Awards in recognition of valued supporters who have made special contributions. Award-winners include: Special Contribution Award to Elaine Ong, founder of VFC; Social Responsibility Award to Naughty Family Animal Hospital; Rabies Free Practice Award to the Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Bureau of Guolo, Qinghai Province; and Charity Pioneer Award to SZCat and TA Shanghai.

The problem of stray companion animals persists in China, fueling the spread of rabies and triggering inhumane mass culling

Vets learn the latest techniques of flank spay for companion animals, helping to control populations humanely and avoid conflict between humans and animals

Understanding the welfare needs of animals is an essential part of veterinary training, giving consideration to the emotional as well as physical well-being of animals

On collecting the Rabies Free Practice award on behalf of his unit, Qian Zhaxi addressed the audience:

“Veterinarians are not just animal medical practitioners. They are also key promoters of public health issues, such as the prevention of zoonotic diseases (including rabies).” He referred to the promotion of the latest sterilisation techniques along with rabies prevention in areas as remote as Qinghai and Guangxi Provinces, contributing to the vision of a Rabies-Free in China by 2025.

Also in attendance were Shane Ryan, President of WSAVA; Pei Su, co-founder and CEO of ACTAsia; Liu Lang, Secretary General of Beijing Small Animal Veterinary Association (BJSAVA); Xue Shuiling, Head of Industry Development at Beijing Animal Disease Prevention and Control Centre; Qiu Renzong, ethics expert from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; and Zhang Dan, representative of Fortune Global 500 China. Other celebrities, media friends and veterinarians from all over the country also attended the celebration.

Isobel Zhang, Secretary General of the new ACTAsia Special Fund donation channel, commented, “While we can see a rapid development in the veterinary sector, we must focus on the improvement of basic skills and further improve animal welfare during practice. In the future, we hope that with the support of the community, we can reach more and more remote places in China.”

WSAVA President Shane Ryan said, “The goal of WSAVA is to raise global veterinary standards and provide global partners with both health and welfare care. We appreciate the work done by ACTAsia through training veterinarians and providing continuing education for Chinese veterinarians.”

ACTAsia CEO Pei Su added, “The partnership between ACTAsia and WSAVA is certainly a milestone, given this year is our 10th anniversary. With the support of WSAVA, ACTAsia will strive to improve the development of animal welfare standards in China and seek to achieve both human and animal health.”