Codifying a "Compassion for Living Things"

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Codifying a "Compassion for Living Things"

By Stephan Otto, Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF)
April 2010

Should this legislation be passed into law, it is arguably positioned to have an impact on more animals than any other single piece of animal protection legislation to date in the world.

China Considers First Comprehensive Animal Protection Law

Eight years ago, my colleague Pamela Frasch represented ALDF at the first international animal law and protection conference held in China. In the years since then, committed individuals in and around China have been working to draft and build support for the country's first comprehensive legislation aimed at providing China's animals with basic protections. Their efforts appear to be gaining traction. An online poll last year found more than 80% of respondents in favor of such legislation.

The first draft of this legislation was released late last year, and its English translation just recently made available.

The proposal categorizes animals in China dependent upon their usage in society and affords them various levels of protections. Categories include: "wild", "economic", "pet", "laboratory" and "other" (e.g. animals used in zoos, for performance, sports, competition and working) animals. Among the many civil and criminal protections included in this landmark legislation are:

China, the world's largest and most populated country, is home to over 1.3 billion people, or over 20% of the world's human population, together with billions of animals. Should this legislation be passed into law, it is arguably positioned to have an impact on more animals than any other single piece of animal protection legislation to date in the world.