The Donkey Sanctuary and World Horse Welfare are in Beijing this week for animal welfare talks, with equine health specifically on the agenda for the first time at such an event in China.

The two charities have been invited for the second time to attend the World Conference on Farm Animal Welfare organised by the China Association for the Promotion of International Agricultural Cooperation (CAPIAC) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The theme of the event, which takes place in Beijing on 24 and 25 October, is ‘Good Welfare, Good Quality, Good Future’.

The Donkey Sanctuary and World Horse Welfare have been able to secure a session dedicated to equine welfare as a result of great cooperation and intensive work with the International Cooperation Committee for Animal Welfare (ICCAW), the international charity’s China-based partner and key animal welfare organisation in the country, which is a first for such an event in China.

Mike Baker, The Donkey Sanctuary CEO, says: “This is another significant step forward for animal welfare in China as the conference brings together both global know-how and local skills. We are particularly excited this time as the equine welfare strand gives us the chance to showcase our expertise and share our knowledge on donkey welfare, which will contribute to positive change and major improvement in the lives of donkeys in the country.”

Roly Owers, World Horse Welfare CEO, says: “We are delighted to be partnering with The Donkey Sanctuary in supporting the second World Conference on Farm Animal Welfare in China. Equids are such versatile animals and nowhere could this be more clearly demonstrated than here in China. The rapid change in the use of equids for farming in China, especially donkeys, makes this an ideal time to further our involvement and work together to help ensure that this trade is both humane and sustainable.”

More than 450 delegates from international organisations, government agencies, industry associations, companies and mainstream media agencies, as well as experts and academics are attending the conference.

In addition, as part of the charity’s system-strengthening programme and in line with its strategic aims, the visit is an opportunity to engage with veterinary and agriculture third-level institutions. Joe Collins, chief vet adviser at The Donkey Sanctuary, will give a presentation at both the China Agriculture University and Beijing College of Agriculture about the charity’s work, with particular focus on clinical vet elements.

At the same time, World Horse Welfare will be furthering its ongoing partnership with the Inner Mongolia Agricultural University on the visit to help train a new generation of equine vets, and will also visit the South China Agricultural University where they hope to establish a partnership.