Interview with JJ Sun, World Animal Protection
JJ is the Education Programme Manager for World Animal Protection in China. In this interview she discusses the importance of animal welfare in veterinary and school education, and the changes in animal protection in Chinese society.
1. JJ, you’re currently studying veterinary medicine in China, what challenges do you think Chinese veterinary students face in relation to learning about animal welfare?
Although animal welfare is no longer a new terminology to Chinese veterinary students, if they want to study it in a systemic way, they are still facing some major challenges. Firstly, there might be no animal welfare courses available in the syllabus, or only an independent theoretic course. Secondly, they might find it hard to practice animal welfare under guidance by using alternative animal models or at clinic internship. Lastly, as animal welfare research is not well funded in veterinary schools, students have limited chances of conducting research in this field.
2. Your work with World Animal Protection involves promoting animal welfare concepts at both universities and primary schools in China, what achievements have you had to date and what work still needs to take place?
By cooperating with the China Veterinary Medical Association, the first book specialised on animal welfare has been published to serve as an introduction tool for vets and other animal related professionals. By cooperating with a primary school, we have developed a set of model courses on animal welfare for Year 7-10 students. By cooperating with Nature Guide, we have also incorporated animal welfare into their Natural History course at Beijing University affiliated high school. This course is expected to be adopted by more schools.
Besides the above achievements, more support from the government are needed. For example, we are applying for the endorsement of the book ‘Introduction to Animal Welfare’ with the Ministry of Agriculture, which will make this book more authoritative and influential to vet schools. Meanwhile, we are also lobbying to incorporate animal welfare into national veterinary registration examinations, which will have a compulsory impact on vet schools to teach animal welfare.
3. Do you feel that the animal protection movement is gathering momentum in China? And what do you think is the biggest change that needs to happen to improve animal welfare?
Yes, animal protection has extended into multi-dimensions of people’s daily life in China, like food safety, clothes, herb medicine, public health, etc. In my view, although legislation is the bottom line of regularizing human behaviour, it is most effective tool of triggering the biggest change in animal welfare improvement in China.
* Any views or opinions represented in this interview are personal and belong solely to the interviewee, and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of World Animal Protection.