Success Story – Dr. Meng Kai

Meng Kai is a veterinarian and small animal doctor hailing from Xianyang City in the northwestern province of Shaanxi, China. Dr. Meng has been involved with ACTAsia’s Caring for Life education framework since 2018 and is currently undergoing his vet training certification.

“Animal welfare is different from animal rights,” says Dr. Meng. 

Dr. Meng is a passionate veterinarian who is committed to the rights and wellbeing of animals. “I have always loved animals,” he shares. As a child, Dr. Meng and his grandmother raised chickens, ducks, and geese at their family home in Sanyuan County in Xianyang City, Shaanxi. “I loved raising small animals and taking care of them.” In fact, he continues, “I still raise chickens and ducks and geese in my yard. And I saved three cats. I used to have alpacas and sika deer, too.”

It is this deep-seated fondness of animals and investment in their wellbeing that continues to motivate Dr. Meng in his passionate veterinarian work. 

“Animal welfare is different from animal rights,” says Dr. Meng. 

“As creatures of nature, as members of the earth, animals deserve to have their own means and spaces to survive and thrive.” 

Dr. Meng’s Work with ACTAsia 

Dr. Meng first heard about ACTAsia in 2018 through Dr. Wei Chang, an ACTAsia Vets for Change veterinary trainer who was involved in ACTAsia’s children’s education courses. Dr. Meng took immediate interest in the children’s programme and their holistic, empathy-based approach. 

“I got invited to organise a children’s education initiative in Xi’an,” Dr. Meng recalls. Based on ACTAsia’s Caring for Life (CFL) education for children framework, the initiative involved interactive activities for children to engage with domestic animals. 

ACTAsia’s Caring for Life (CFL) education for children programme is an innovative 6-year curriculum for children aged between 6 and 12 years old.  Highlighting the interconnectedness of all living things, CFL addresses key areas such as social welfare, civic responsibility, animal welfare and environmental issues. Close collaboration with teachers and educational authorities ensures these values are seamlessly integrated into students’ education.

The structure of Caring for Life invites empathy and a sense of responsibility amongst young learners. ACTAsia’s programmes and initiatives teach children to respect others, protect the environment, treat animals kindly, and participate in the construction of ecological civilisation with practical actions. 

ACTAsia enabled Dr Meng to realise that, as a veterinarian, that he is also an educator, promoting animal welfare to owners and others

“I liked it very much and I began to see how impactful CFL is. The children really liked it too; they had a good time.” From there, Dr. Meng knew he wanted to continue to work with ACTAsia, using education as a tool to drive positive systemic change. 

“The children have such a rich imagination,” says Dr. Meng

A Caring for Life Ally 

In the six years since his initial exposure to ACTAsia, Dr. Meng has remained a valuable member of our compassionate movement. He acts as a staunch supporter and promoter of our message. He believes in the CFL philosophy and is determined to spread our vision. ACTAsia is striving to embed our CFL education program into China’s national curriculum, ensuring that every child has access to this vital initiative. Dr. Meng has acted as an amazing support on this goal, actively liaising with the Xianyang Education Bureau. He has promoted the CFL curriculum to the government by sharing CFL education textbooks, hoping that ACTAsia’s crucial education programme will reach more children. 

This year, Dr. Meng enthusiastically took part in ACTAsia’s activities for Earth Day at the end of April. For four years, ACTAsia has been carrying out an Earth Day programme as part of our Caring for Life children’s education. For Earth Day, ACTAsia shares our Caring for Life (CFL) education resources with activity-based lesson plans aligned with the Earth Day theme. Dr. Meng organised Earth Day kindergarten lessons in Xianyang, teaching five classes and over 200 children. 

Dr. Meng recalls a powerful moment during one of his Earth Day One kindergarten classes. Dr. Meng asked the class what would happen if Earth had no grass. “Without grass, there would be no flowers, and the world would not be beautiful,” responded the five-year-old child. “The children have such a rich imagination,” says Dr. Meng. The CFL framework gives students the tools for expression and critical thinking. 

“Dr. Meng is a passionate veterinarian who is committed to the rights and wellbeing of animals. 

CFL Children’s Education and Animal Welfare 

From a veterinary perspective, Dr. Meng sees Caring for Life as crucial to the health and welfare needs of animals. He discusses the mutually-beneficial impact of incorporating animals into children’s education. Animals play a profound role in children’s development, helping cultivate empathy. And empathy is the fundamental starting point for animal welfare, says Dr. Meng. Empathy leads to engagement, which leads to better care and increased well being of animals, he explains. For example, he continues, “In China, we pay more attention to giving rabies vaccines to people than we do to animals. But we all need to take responsibility.” 

For many issues and shortcomings with animal welfare can be traced to a lack of awareness. 

“With the concept of empathy that ACTAsia puts forward, we can think about our friendship with animals. And rabies prevention starts with children, with caring from an early age.” 

The structure of Caring for Life invites empathy and a sense of responsibility amongst young learners

Animals educate us, says Dr. Meng.

If we allow ourselves to be educated by animals, we can all live in harmony. “We need to strengthen education and guidance [for animal welfare],” says Dr. Meng. “CFL trains children to get along well with animals.”                                                                                                                                                        

Thank you to Dr. Meng for your incredible work as a veterinarian and Caring for Life promoter. As we celebrate ACTAsia’s inspirational warriors and the impact of ACTAsia’s remarkable education programmes, we invite you to be part of our compassionate movement. Donate now to continue the momentum!