Vets for Change

Vets for Change is a pioneering programme whereby ACTAsia and its partners train vets in animal welfare and best practice for companion animals. In China veterinary knowledge is often limited to the theoretical education they receive with very little practical training.

What are the issues impacting animals in China

In many countries, people take it for granted that vets understand animal welfare and know how to deal with domestic pets like cats and dogs.  However, in China veterinary knowledge is often limited to the theoretical education they receive with very little practical training. 

Keeping pets in China is a relatively new culture, seen as a novelty rather than a responsibility, widely misunderstood, and unpopular in many neighbourhoods because of noise pollution, bite-incidents, and fear of rabies outbreaks. 

Veterinarians do not have the same professional status in China as they do in most parts of the western world. A vocation to promote animal welfare is unusual for Chinese vets and training in universities has little focus on companion animal issues. The increasing number of unwanted animals in China is becoming a significant welfare problem.

What is the Vets for Change programme

ACTAsia partners with experts Vets for Compassion (VFC) in Australia to fulfil our professional education programme for veterinarians. Together, we introduce new concepts and techniques in animal health and welfare to Asian countries. ACTAsia promotes and fulfils a Companion Animal Veterinary Training Programme, which includes Train the Trainer (TTT) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The programme was launched in China in 2009 and ACTAsia has established an effective platform for local veterinarians in China to work towards better animal welfare standards.

How are vets making a difference?

ACTAsia and our partners at VFC host regular workshops, where veterinarians learn theory, practical skills and best practice, including animal welfare and understanding sentience. Topics include the best anaesthesia techniques for surgery, current spay and neuter methods, how to manage pain, and how vaccination programmes can control rabies and zoonotic diseases in communities. ACTAsia also actively promotes responsible pet ownership, works with local animal protection groups and encourages collaboration between vets and government officials.

Vet peer training and ongoing support for vets

Most importantly, our trainee vets go on to become trainers themselves, sharing their new knowledge and techniques with their colleagues. This peer-to-peer training helps ACTAsia maximise resources and enables the new methods to be shared more effectively. 

Once veterinarians have been certified as Trainers, ACTAsia and VFC follow-up with regular workshops to ensure their professional skills are kept up to date with the latest methods. This Continuing Professional Development may include refresher courses in techniques they have already learnt, or taking the next step to introduce more new techniques into their professional repertoire. ACTAsia is committed to ongoing professional support for our trained veterinarians. 

What Vets for Change has achieved

Since 2009, almost 4,000 vets have been trained, 27 Train The Trainer workshops completed and 6 CPD practical workshops carried out. ACTAsia now has 28 Trainers in China who are going out into communities to share their expertise and educate future generations of vets. 

In 2019, ACTAsia partnered with the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) – an international industry association with over 200,000 veterinarians in 110 member associations from 87 countries. WSAVA works to advance the health and welfare of companion animals throughout the world and to speak on behalf of companion animal veterinarians globally. The partnership is enabling ACTAsia work to be rolled out on a larger scale. 

In 2022 ACTAsia reached over 2000 vets through online CPD and 50 vets completed the WSAVA Essentials in Clinical Decision-Making course.