Success Story – Dr Yin – a leader for Animal Welfare in China

ACTAsia are thrilled to share Dr Yin’s ground breaking work as one of our veterinary trainers who promote vital – and life changing – lessons in their field of work.

Dr Yin joined ACTAsia’s Train the Trainer (TTT) programme in 2009 as she felt compelled to do more to help domestic animals and improve animal welfare but had no idea how to go about it. The TTT programme helps veterinarians in China learn fundamental clinical veterinary skills and promotes animal welfare within the profession.  As Dr Yin commented: “Before ACTAsia I didn’t know how I could improve animal welfare as a vet, and how I could help more animals, now I know I can do a lot more”.

The TTT programme enables veterinarians in China to become educators for animal welfare in China and then take this knowledge and understanding and share it through ongoing peer-to-peer training. Workshops have taken place in multiple cities across China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanning, Yulin, Taiyuan and Qinghai and approximately 1,300 Chinese veterinarians have now taken part.

What has Dr Yin achieved with her TTT knowledge?

Since working with ACTAsia on the TTT programme, Dr Yin has worked tirelessly to promote the welfare of animals in her role as a vet and vet trainer. She has helped to raise professional standards amongst her peers, promoted the basic welfare needs of animals and has run free vaccination clinics for street dogs in rural locations – mostly in her free time.  As she explained: “We learn that it is not enough to treat physical symptoms, we have an obligation to teach an awareness that animals are sentient beings, who have needs and feelings. While this concept may be self-evident in some societies, it is not taught in Chinese veterinary schools, even today. Indeed, I learnt it at my first training session with ACTAsia and Vets for Compassion (VFC). I’m proud to be part of a programme that trains more and more vets, who spread ripples of compassion further and further into China.”

Vet Training in Nanning

Was helping animals always Dr Yin’s passion? 

Dr Yin confessed that working closely with animals and their welfare wasn’t her passion at the outset. Indeed, when she was training to be a vet, it was not regarded as a credible professional career choice. Many didn’t understand why Dr Yin would even need to go to university. However, after spending time working, treating and healing animals and being with them day after day her love and fascination towards animals grew. 

Dr Yin went on to explain that there is a lot less prejudice about vets nowadays.  At the outset when she was at veterinary college her family and people from her village used to mock her saying that the sum total of her work would be neutering chickens.  But she explains that this attitude is now changing. There is a much greater understanding of how challenging it is to train to be a vet and how intelligent, hardworking and important vets are in today’s society.  

Dr Yin runs rabies vaccinations in rural locations

Taking her skills to rural villages 

Dr Yin uses her free time to conduct rabies and veterinary clinics in rural locations. Many of the villages she visits she has known since she was a child and as a result the villagers know and trust her and respect the initiative.  Dogs are owned but free roaming and nobody knows for sure whether they have rabies or not which makes many people suspicious, frightened and fearful of attacks. Dr Yin also vaccinates and cares for dogs in shelters.  

Incredibly, Dr Yin used her own initiative to run the rabies vaccinations in her home town in a rural part of Guangxi – which has been experiencing one of the highest rabies cases in China – after she learnt from ACTAsia’s training that the most effective rabies control is to vaccinate dogs and not mass culling.  Going forward, Dr Yin is keen to find government agencies who would co-operate and get behind the initiatives. The events she runs are quite small scale at the moment but with many more trainers now working alongside Dr Yin, the plan is to run bigger events with greater collaboration between vets across different regions in China.  Her colleagues have shown a lot of interest and Dr Yin explained that they can learn a great deal from her and the experience that she has obtained since starting her incredible work.

How did ACTAsia help and make a difference to her career?

Dr Yin’s training and exposure through ACTAsia have given Dr Yin personal credibility. More organisations have wanted to work with her following the ACTAsia training – recognising a greater confidence in her ability and realisation that she can give a more professional service.  Dr Yin felt there was significantly more trust placed on her to provide a better standard of service and treat animals in a more humane manner. She says she now feels inspired to do more and create a better future for animals and humans.

Why ACTAsia’s Veterinary Training Programme works

ACTAsia’s TTT programme works in two key ways. Firstly, by equipping the vets with essential skills such as: learning about the sentience of the animals they treat, proper anaesthesia techniques for surgery, current spay and neuter methods, the importance of pain management and how vaccination can control rabies. And secondly, once the vets have learnt these key points, the trained vets become educators themselves – going out into their communities to share the knowledge and new methods they have learnt. The ‘ripple’ effect of the TTT programme is thereby able to reach a far wider network of vets across China.

What now for animals in China?

Following the TTT programme which has led to more vet’s receiving vital training, there is far more awareness about animal sentience and the correct treatment of animals. There has been a significant increase in the number of people now owning pets in China which has also brought about an attitude change – people have found joy in living with and looking after animals in a way that they’ve never experienced before. 

What Dr Yin’s work means to ACTAsia 

ACTAsia has supported Dr Yin throughout her career and through our help and guidance she is now a leader in her field. Pei, CEO of ACTAsia, said: “When we (ACTAsia and Vets for Compassion) set up the Train the Trainers programme in 2009, I hoped that one day vets in China would be able to raise animal welfare standards; controlling the stray dog population and reducing rabies cases. These trained vets have become the force behind solving these problems with their newly learnt skills – rather than needing to rely on intervention by foreign vets.  Dr Yin is a living showcase – highlighting our vision and demonstrating that the programme has worked. Dr Yin has become a role model among her professional peers in China and Asia. ACTAsia has successfully demonstrated the power of education and how we can create lasting change and make greater impact within a local context.”

Please watch this video and see how Dr. Yin and our other trainers take actions to help Tibetan dogs in rural China.