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Second World Conference on Farm Animal Welfare Successfully Held in Beijing

Release time:2018-11-29

On October 24-25th 2018, the Second World Conference on Farm Animal Welfare, jointly hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and China Association for the Promotion of International Agricultural Cooperation, takes place in Beijing. The conference theme is “Good Welfare Ÿ Good Quality Ÿ Good Future”. It features a Plenary Session on the 24th and five concurrent sessions on the 25th, namely Swine Welfare Session, Poultry Welfare Session, Ruminant Welfare Session, Equine Welfare Session and Animal Welfare and Antimicrobial Reduction Session.
In total, 49 speakers make reports and 41 participants take part in the panel discussions. Mr. Zhai Huqu, Chairman of China Association for the Promotion of International Agricultural Cooperation, Mr. Vincent Martin, FAO Representative in China and DPR Korea, and Mr. Mike Baker, representative of the Joint Co-hosts and CEO of the Donkey Sanctuary deliver the welcome speeches. Mr. Ma Youxiang, Chief Director of Animal Husbandry of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and Mr. Badi Besbes, Senior Animal Production Officer of Animal Production and Health Division of FAO deliver the keynote speeches. In total, more than 490 people from 14 countries and areas attend the conference, including representatives of international organisations, government officials, experts of scientific research institutes and administrators of major companies, etc.
Mr. Ma Youxiang, Chief Director of Animal Husbandry of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said that with the improvement of the farming environment and the equipment, farm animal welfare has been greatly improved in farming, transportation and slaughter. However, animal welfare development level is not balanced in China. This conference has provided a good opportunity for different stakeholders to communicate together and improve their understanding of animal welfare, which can facilitate animal welfare promotion.

In the welcome speech, Mr. Vincent Martin acknowledges the importance of animal welfare for agricultural development and food security and FAO’s commitment to advance animal welfare and human welfare under one-welfare framework. He also introduces about the efforts of FAO in promoting and guiding animal welfare development worldwide as well as the multidimensional approach of FAO in promoting regional animal welfare programmes. The overall vision, strategic framework and pragmatic approach of FAO as shown in the speech map out the direction and the routes to implement animal welfare in global and regional contexts.

The keynote speech of Mr. Badi Besbes gives a comprehensive overview of the present and future livestock development, in-depth analyses of the contribution of animal welfare for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and calls for more intensive “collaboration and partnership efforts to mainstream animal welfare in all livestock production systems worldwide”. The diverse ways in which animal welfare can contribute to the SDGs further demonstrate the indispensable role of animal welfare for the integrated economic, social and environmental development.

Besides, Mr. Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion in World Farming, Ms. Gudrun Gallhoff of the European Union, Mr. Bekele Debele of World Bank, Mr. Lewis Bollard of the Open Philanthropy and other well-known leaders and experts have also brought fresh and valuable insight regarding to animal welfare promotion from their respective viewpoints.
At the conference, Beijing Consensus initiated by FAO and other fifteen organisations have been signed by the delegates and receives positive responses from the participants. Beijing Consensus echoes the increasing commitment for animal welfare and more intensive collaboration of the major stakeholders. Apart from the guiding principles, Beijing Consensus has also put forward eight concrete measures for animal welfare implementation, such as “build knowledge based on sound scientific evidence” and “improve standards, traceability and labelling”. In the future, we will promote Beijing Consensus and incorporate companies that are willing to implement animal welfare into it.

The high-level conference has seen enthusiastic commendations by more than 100 mainstream media agencies and well-known websites, such as Xinhua News, China News Service, People’s Daily, people.cn, Farmers’ Daily, China.com.cn, etc. The reports about the conference published in the conference official website and Wechat Subscription get many hits and are widely spread. 
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