Second successful vet training programme ‘Cure with Care’.

From 26th July – 7th August 2010, 25 veterinarians participated in surgical workshops in Shenzhen and Beijing to promote humane stray animal population management and rabies control programmes. The focus was on learning modern spay/neuter techniques, the application of good animal welfare principles in vet clinics, and the essential role that vets play in preventing rabies outbreaks.  Organised by ACTAsia for Animals, the Beijng General Station of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Service (BGSAHVS – part of the Beijing Agricultural Bureau) and Capital Animal Welfare Association (CAWA), the sessions were conducted by a team of leading veterinarians and nurses from Australian group Vets Beyond Borders (VBB).


Dr. Wei, a Beijing official, gave the opening speech for the programme; with Mme. Qin from CAWA


Collaboration with Chinese government

Beijing alone is estimated to have 20,000 stray cats living in the city, according to a Capital Animal Welfare Association (CAWA) survey in 2007. The majority of these are abandoned, unneutered pets. The number of stray animals is increasingly creating public and governmental concern because of issues such as disease transmission, environmental pollution, noise and traffic accidents.

The Director of BGSAHVS, Wei Hai Tao, said: “The Beijing government is already distributing 1,000 free neutering vouchers every month. This programme by ACTAsia is a very worthwhile contribution to our efforts to reduce the stray animal problem in our area.”

More spays, fewer strays

Dr. Elaine Ong and Dr. Chris Barton briefing Beijing vets before a practical session on flank spay.

ACTAsia’s programme follows on from a successful veterinary training programme in 2009, which showed a significant increase in the number of reduced cost and free sterilisations by participating clinics in Shenzhen and Beijing. Dr. Elaine Ong (VBB) explained that “in the 2010 programme, as in 2009, vets were shown how to do flank spays and early age neutering from around 8 weeks of age. In addition, the principles of animal handling, animal nursing, surgical sterilisation techniques and pain relief were emphasised during the training.” Flank spays are beneficial for stray population control programmes, as they are safer for most animals, and the wound heals more quickly, allowing earlier release.

Madame Qin Xiao-Na (CAWA) clarified: “Sterilisation is not common in Beijing, resulting in uncontrolled breeding and abandonment of animals. Through these sessions vets learn to promote the neutering of animals, which is a great asset in raising public awareness on the importance of neutering.”

Feline specialist Dr. Richard Gowan examining a stray cat, during the tutorial session on cat diseases.



Training the trainers

A new feature for this year was to ‘train trainers’ to allow faster expansion of the programme. Seven selected local vets from Shenzhen and Changsha, who had attended the training in 2009, received more in-depth training on operation techniques and teaching skills. They are now in a position to teach other vets about new techniques and better animal welfare practices.

Rabies prevention

Besides increasing the effectiveness of neutering programmes, vets have an essential role to play in controlling rabies within the animal population. In the workshops, providing canine rabies vaccinations as standard preventive treatment was emphasised. With this proactive approach, the cruel and indiscriminate culling of animals as a reactive measurement to a rabies outbreak could be stopped.

Chinese vets concentrating on flank spay technique. 



Joint force for stray animal management

As concluded by ACTAsia Executive Director, Pei Su: “This programme truly demonstrates how collaboration between various stakeholders – government, veterinarians and their professional bodies, and animal protection agencies – can promote more humane stray animal management and rabies prevention”.


ACTAsia would like to thank everyone who made this possible, particularly the vets and nurses who conducted the programme – Dr Elaine Ong, Dr Chris Barton, Dr Richard Gowan, Dr Charmaine Tham, Ann Letch, Robyn Ireland, Carolyn Maguire and Jimmy Pan.

We would also like to thank our co-organisers – Vets Beyond Borders, the Alliance for Animals in China, Beijing Xijiao Animal Hospital and Ruipeng Pet Medical Service Organisation.

Thanks to participating organisations, the Beijing Small Animal Veterinary Association which kindly provided assistance for the programme in Beijing, Lucky Cats and ShenzhenCats.

This programme would not have been possible without our generous sponsors – thanks to Humane Society International, One Voice, Dr. Chris Barton (Diamond Valley Veterinary Hospital), Dr. Elaine Ong (Box Hill Veterinary Hospital), Dr. Richard Gowan (The Cat Clinic), Dr. Charmaine Tham, Best Friends Animal Society and the Misha Foundation.

We are also grateful for Dr Chinny Krishna (Blue Cross of India) for a donation of spay hooks, and Box Hill Institute, Dr Shauna O’Meara (Pet-Informed) and Dr Ingwersen (WSAVA) for permission to use and translate materials.

Our translation volunteers worked tirelessly and we appreciate all their efforts – thanks to Li-Ping Zhang, Wei-Zhen Lee, Zhen-Rong Zhang, Joanna, Christina, Peter Liang, Nicky Shang, Echo Zhao, Xiao Xue, Catherine and Sophia.

A fantastic team! Dr. Louis Liu. President BSAVA (middle) surrounded by members of Vets Beyond Borders (left to right): Jimmy Pan, Dr. Richard Gowan, Dr. Charmaine Tham, Dr. Chris Barton, Dr. Elaine Ong, Carolyn Maguire, Ann Letch, Robyn Ireland. 

Press conferences on the event were held, and well-attended, in both Shenzhen and Beijing.

Press reports (in Chinese) are available at the following links:

China Industrial Economy News

Guanming Daily

Shenzhen News – Jin Bao

Public China