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Important Legal Guarantee of Developing Modern Animal Industry

Ministry of Agriculture

September 5, 2006

The promulgation of the Animal Husbandry Law of the People's Republic of China, approved at the 19th Session of the 10th National People's Congress Standing Committee on 29 December 2005 and brought into force on 1 July 2006, is a major event in the development process of agricultural legislation in China, and also a milestone in the history of animal industry. The implementation of the Law is of great importance in regulating the operational behaviors of animal production, safeguarding the quality and safety of meat, egg and milk, promoting a healthy and sustained development of animal industry, and protecting the public health and ecological environment.

The Fifth Plenary Session of the 16th CPC Central Committee put forward clearly the historic task of developing a modern agriculture and building a new socialist countryside. A modern animal industry, constituting an important part of modern agriculture, is also an objective necessity to build a new socialist countryside. In recent years, animal industry has enjoyed a higher priority and played a more prominent role in agriculture and the rural economy, and in the overall national economy and social development at large.

In 2005, the total output of meat, egg and dairy products amounted to 77.431 million tons, 28.795 million tons and 28.648 tons, respectively, with meat and egg output ranking first in the world. At present, the output value of China's animal industry has exceeded 1.3 trillion yuan, accounting for 34 percent of the gross agricultural output value. Over 600 yuan out of rural income per capital comes from animal industry, making up some 30 percent of cash income generated from farm household operations. Where animal industry is relatively developed, it would contribute some 50 percent of rural cash income, and thus becomes a major channel to increase rural income. The rapid development of animal industry not only serves as locomotive behind relevant industries such as feed industry, livestock product processing, veterinary drugs, food, tanning, wool and textile, and machinery for animal farming, but also offers a great number of job opportunities for rural labors.

Currently, China has over 100 million labors engaged in this industry. In 2005, the total output value generated from industries closely related to animal industry like feed, livestock product processing and veterinary drugs was in excess of 800 billion yuan. With constantly improved living quality and standards, the people has an increasingly stronger demand for livestock products, which makes it highly necessary to inject tremendous new vigor into this field.

The Central Party Committee and the State Council have always attached great importance to its development. In particular, clear instructions were made at the 5th Plenary Session of the CPC Central Committee and in the three consecutive Document No. 1 revealed from 2004 to 2006. In fact, the development of any industry requires laws and regulations. The reveal of the Animal Husbandry Law puts an end to the vacancy of a basic law in this industry. The Law is a fundamental law to promote, guide, protect and regulate the development of animal industry. In dealing with major problems long entrenched in this industry, it has translated principles and policies of the party and government on supporting animal industry development into law, and institutionalized China’s experiences in managing and developing the husbandry.

First, upgrade the national policies on supporting animal industry to law to establish a more effective safeguard mechanism for animal industry development. The General Rules of the Animal Husbandry Law clearly provides for that the state shall support the development of animal industry, and give a full play to its role in developing agriculture and rural economy, and in increasing farmers' income. Governments at the county level and above shall take measures to enhance the infrastructure construction of animal industry, encourage and support the development of large-scale animal farming, push forward the commercial operations of animal industry, improve its overall productivity, and strengthen the development of a quality, high efficiency, ecological and safe animal industry. Such provisions enforce the support and safeguard of governments at all levels and of all social circles for animal industry to be a required legal obligation, contributing to the establishment of a long-term and effective mechanism for further development of animal industry and a sound social environment and legal basis for its long-term development.

Second, stress the protection of the livestock and poultry genetic resources, laying a legal basis for rational exploitation of these genetic resources and for realization of sustainable development of animal industry.A specific chapter in the law is set up to provide for an overall standardization of the protection of livestock and poultry genetic resources, greatly enlarging the scope of readjusting the previous Administrative Regulations of the People's Republic of China on Breeding Livestock and Poultry, and strengthening the status and role of resources protection.

The law specially emphasizes that "the state shall establishes a protection system for livestock and poultry genetic resources. Governments at all levels shall take measures to enhance protection of these genetic resources, and the funds for the protection shall be listed in their respective budget." This Law also clearly states the principle of taking the government as the major protector of livestock and poultry genetic resources, and encouraging relevant departments and individuals to devoting greater efforts in protecting these resources by following laws and regulations concerned. Such legislative conceptions and legal requirements will play an extremely important fundamental role in effectively protecting the diversity of genetic resources of local livestock and poultry breeds, in entering a new phase of integrating the protection with the rational exploitation and use, and in supporting the quality, high efficiency and sustainable development of animal industry.

Third, regulations on quality and safety of livestock/poultry products have been highlighted, which is conducive to establishing a quality traceability system for these products.On the basis of continuously emphasizing the management of breeding stock/bird, the law set up specific provisions on animal farming, especially on the conditions of scale farming, requirements and practices for animal farms, livestock/poultry labeling, environmental protection of animal farms and welfare, which are conducive to the improvement of the overall productivity of animal industry, and establishment of a quality traceability system of livestock/poultry products at the root.

Under the law, it is required that issues in relating to scale of animal farms and the land for animal farming zones as well as environmental protection must be dealt with prudentially, and the monitoring and control of livestock/poultry markets and transportation be strengthened, which provides an important legal protection for the safety of livestock products and the health of the people. Therefore, the implementation of the Law will contribute to further resolution of the prominent contradictions in the development of animal industry, and accelerate the development of a modern one.

Deepening the study and implementation of the Animal Husbandry Law is a critical guarantee for promoting management of animal industry on the legal basis, and for its sustainable and healthy development. Currently, our efforts focus on the following work:

First, further deepen the study and publicity of the Animal Husbandry Law. Since the promulgation of the Law in December last year, competent departments of governments at different levels have carried out various study and publicity activities through holding video/audio meetings, organizing training courses, erecting poster boards, distributing study materials, carrying out knowledge competition activities, organizing publicity activities in the countryside as well as the use of media means. All these efforts have made satisfactory results.

For the next step, we will further strengthen the study and publicity of the Law and make it an important part in the training of officials in the agricultural sector. By doing so, agricultural officials at different levels, especially those working in the competent departments of animal industry, will be familiar with the Law and grasp its essence, and implement the Law in their work consciously and firmly; make those engaged in animal farming and business well informed of the basic contents and requirements of the law to improve their law observing willingness and enhance their initiatives in developing a modern animal industry; make the whole society aware of the importance of this Law, and its role in agriculture and rural economy, the national economy and social development, so that people from all walks of life of the society will give more attention and support to its development.

Second, set up and improve various supporting measures/regulations. Being empowered by laws and following relevant regulations, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) has finished drawing up of the following supporting measures/regulations: the Measures for Management of Conservation Farms, Conservation Regions and Gene Banks of the Native Livestock and Poultry Genetic Resources; the Measures for Examining and Approving of the Synthesized Lines of New Breeds of Livestock and Poultry and for Identifying of Their Genetic Resources; the Regulations on the Registration of Quality Breeding Stocks; the Measures for Management of Markings/Tags and Farming Records of Livestock and Poultry; and the Measures for Management of Silkworm Seeds. All these supporting measures/regulations have been made public.

In the meantime, together with ministries and commissions concerned, MOA has lost no time to formulate, by following the Animal Husbandry Law, policies and measures for land use of animal production and for environment management of animal farms in order to effectively resolve prominent problems in the development of animal industry. Local competent departments in provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government shall take into consideration the local conditions and actively support their local legal institutions in drawing up and revising the relevant regulations, rules and standards so as to carry out all the measures stipulated under the Animal Husbandry Law.

Third, further improving administration by law. Administrative departments of various levels in the animal husbandry sector, with the aim of focusing on building of a new socialist countryside and realizing the goal of increasing farmers' income, should accelerate the transformation of the animal production pattern, build up an industrial system of modern animal husbandry, steadily improve the overall production capacity of animal husbandry, endeavor to ensure quality and safety of animal products, public sanitary and eco-environmental safety, and promote the animal husbandry to transform to a technologically intensive, resource efficient and environment friendly industry. According to this concept and requirement, the concerning departments should speed up working out and implementing the Plan of Animal Husbandry Development in the 11th Five-Year Plan.

They should earnestly implement the various responsibilities entrusted by the Animal Husbandry Law, strengthen the building of their institution, continue to improve their ability and level of administration by law and make decisions, perform administration and management in accordance with law. They should further change their concepts and working styles, create innovating mechanism, and apply law-based measures scientifically to manage animal husbandry, improve the supervision and regulation system, and raise administrative efficiency, in order to do more practical things in the farmers’ interest; They should strengthen the animal husbandry administration and law-enforcement, intensify the supervision and regulation of administrative approvals on breeding animals and poultry, veterinary drugs, feed and feed additives, etc., open the administration to the public, and ensure the law-enforcement in a just, civilized and strict manner, so as to establish good image in public; They should intensify supervision of law enforcement and consciously accept the supervision by farmers. They should actively seek for support from all walks of life including the media, increase reports on animal husbandry, and guide the rural and urban residents to consume animal and poultry products in a scientific way, so as to speed up the promotion of the development of modern animal husbandry.

Fourth, further increasing the overall production capacity in livestock sector.Quality breed is the physical basis for the development of livestock sector. In order to prevent genetic resources of livestock from extinction, livestock administration departments at different levels should, in line with the Animal Husbandry Law of People’s Republic of China, strengthen and improve measures to protect and manage the genetic resources, and increase the input for protecting the genetic resources of livestock so as to preserve and save the endangered species. Efforts should be made to increase the supervision over the quality of breeding stock, to implement the license system for production and operation in livestock industry, and to crack down on counterfeit or inferior breeding animals and poultry according to the law. To increase the supply of the quality breed, the building of system of quality breed of livestock should be accelerated, in which the selection, propagation and extension of the improved breed are cross-complementary.

It is crucial to shift the production pattern of livestock sector and increase its overall production capacity for developing modern livestock industry. Enhancing the overall production capacity is one of the important components of building modern animal husbandry. The country’s current policy of shifting the breeding practices of livestock has been specified as the terms of the Animal Husbandry Law of People’s Republic of China. Livestock administration departments at different levels should, in line with the Animal Husbandry Law of People's Republic of China, focus on developing small breeding communities and scaled raising farms/households, in order to appropriately guide, support, and normatively and intensively supervise. It is very necessary to advance the modern livestock industry, increase its overall production capacity, and accelerate the steps of building the livestock sector into a scaled and integrated one which conducts intensive and standardized production.

Fifth, further safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of producers in the field of animal husbandry. Animal husbandry has become the pillar industry in terms of stimulating the rural economy and increasing income of farmers. It is of great importance to safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of livestock producers in the field of animal husbandry, building of the socialism harmonious society, and motivating the farmers and the public in developing livestock sector and speeding up the development of animal husbandry.

The Animal Husbandry Law has made a clear specification in encouraging and supporting the relevant units and individuals on conservation of genetic resources in accordance with law, helping the selection and breeding of animal and poultry and extension of their use, promoting the shifting of breeding mode, and ensuring the quality and safety of animal and poultry. At the same time, the measures of punishments have also been specified on the illegal activities in terms of conservation of genetic resources, animal and poultry breeding management, and animal and poultry production. The department of animal husbandry at all levels shall intensify the efforts on enforcing the Animal Husbandry Law and severely punish the actions that violate the Animal Husbandry Law, lawfully in order to protect the legitimate rights and interests of animal husbandry producers, so as to develop the animal husbandry in an orderly and healthy way.

(China Development Gateway September 5, 2006)

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