CBCGDF Legal Working Committee Suggested Amendments to Law on Animal Epidemic Prevention Have Been Submitted to the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (I)

Recently, informed that the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress has publicly solicited opinions from the public on the “Law on Animal Epidemic Prevention of the People’s Republic of China (Revised Draft)” (hereinafter referred to as the “Draft”), China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) legal working committee attaches great importance to it, specially organized an online discussion meeting, invited experts in animal protection and epidemic prevention, health law, environmental law and other related fields to make suggestions.

After careful research and summarization, the CBCDFF legal working committee officially formulated 14 general recommendations and 10 specific recommendations in recent days and submitted them to the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress by mail.

Overall Recommendations

I. It is recommended that biosecurity be reflected in the legislative purpose of the Draft

Animal epidemic prevention is directly related to biological safety. It is necessary to embody biosecurity in the legislative purpose of the Draft.

Proposed to amend Article 1 of the Draft to “In order to strengthen the management of animal epidemic prevention activities, prevent, control, purify and eliminate animal epidemics, promote the healthy development of the aquaculture industry, protect human health, maintain public health safety and biological safety, this Law is formulated.”

II. The scope of adjustment of the Draft should be expanded

The second article of the “Draft” stipulates: “Animals referred to in this Law refer to livestock and poultry and other animals raised and legally captured”, the legally captured animals are within the scope of the “Draft” adjustment, so for the lack of regulations on the management and disposal of epidemic diseases of wild-caught animals, it is recommended that wild animals be included in the scope of the “Draft”.

It is proposed to amend Article 3 to read “animals referred to in this Law refer to livestock and poultry and other animals kept artificially and captured in the wild.”

Correspondingly, the regulations on inspection and quarantine of wild animals should be strengthened.

It is proposed to amend Article 51 of the Draft to “Where wild animals need to be used non-edible due to special circumstances such as scientific research, medicinal use, display, etc., strict approval and quarantine inspection shall be conducted in accordance with relevant national regulations. Without approval or inspection and quarantine, it is forbidden to capture, breed and process wild animals and their products.

The specific provisions on the examination, approval, quarantine inspection and inspection of epidemic prevention conditions for the use of wild animals for non-edible nature shall be formulated and published by the State Council’s Agriculture and Rural Areas (in charge of animal husbandry and veterinary authorities) in conjunction with the forestry and grassland departments and health departments.

The state encourages scientific research and technological development of non-edible use of wild animals for quarantine and inspection. ”

III. Establish prevention principles for animal epidemic prevention risks

The principles of risk prevention have been applied to the fields of climate change, biological safety, nuclear safety, soil pollution prevention and it is very important for animal epidemic prevention, it can kill animal epidemics in the bud. Therefore, the “Draft” should establish the principles of risk prevention.

It is proposed to amend Article 5 of the “Draft” to read “The country implements the principles of risk prevention, strict control, timely purification, and forced elimination of animal diseases. Establish a working mechanism of government leadership, departmental supervision, industry self-discipline, social co-governance, and clear responsibilities.”

Corresponding to the principles of risk prevention, risk assessment should also make systematic provisions, including the purpose, method, indicator system, procedures for participating in relevant decision-making, and the significance of risk assessment for decision-makers.

IV. Establish an epidemic prevention and control system with clear division of labor and adaptive rights

The “Draft” should give technical institutions the right to determine the epidemic situation, and the government should decide whether to issue it. The epidemic prevention issues of companion animals, working animals, exhibition animals, and various animals in the bird and flower market and famer’s market involved in animal epidemic prevention should all have a clear division of labor in the Draft.

It is recommended that in the “Draft” the rights and responsibilities of the people’s government at the county level, the rights and responsibilities of various government departments, including issues such as publishing rights, law enforcement rights, technical support responsibilities, and epidemic source monitoring responsibilities, all to be made clear through this time’s reform the state’s public health system, otherwise, it will be difficult to carry out the epidemic prevention and control work smoothly.

V. Add provisions for special chapters on information disclosure and public participation

Information disclosure is an important means to protect the public’s right to know and establish the credibility of government departments. It is also an important way to urge the government and enterprise departments to do a good job in the management of animal diseases and conditions. In view of the significant impact of animal epidemic prevention on public safety and social safety, it is recommended to set up a special chapter to stipulate the content of information disclosure and public participation related to animal epidemic prevention, encourage scientific research institutes, industry associations, grassroots veterinarians and the media to play a role and actively participate in the work of animal epidemic prevention.

Among them, the protection and reward system for whistleblowers should be specially established.

VI. Add legal provisions on animal welfare

Animal welfare has become a topic of great international concern and a sign of social civilization progress. It is recommended to make principle provisions in the “Draft”.

According to the “Wild Animal Protection Law” “No Animal Cruelty” provisions, it is recommended to add a new article to the General Provisions “In animal epidemic prevention, animals should be treated well, and animal welfare should be promoted.” At the same time, the right to control and dispose of stray dogs and stray cats in Article 28 of the Draft should be clearly defined in conjunction with animal welfare.

VII. Adding provisions for emergencies such as new outbreaks and epidemics

The “Draft” has made many institutional arrangements for the normal animal epidemic prevention management, however, there are not enough emergency regulations for new and sudden epidemics. It is recommended to strengthen the legislation on the prevention and control of new and emerging epidemics, and to distinguish the prevention and control of newly emerging epidemics from the prevention and control of already emerging epidemics, elaborate separately.

1. The subject of early warning

The early warning system stipulates that in Article 17 of the Draft, the legislator sets the subject of early warning relatively high, that is, only the competent animal husbandry and veterinary department of the State Council and the agricultural and rural (animal husbandry and veterinary) department of the provincial people’s government can give early warning, and cannot reach the grassroots level. If a new, sudden outbreak occurs, for example, this time the COVID-19 epidemic is the most representative, Wuhan City, as a larger city approved by the State Council and a sub-provincial city, is not able to publish the epidemic situation. In fact, it does not match the Emergency Response Law. The Emergency Response Law was clearly stipulated when it was enacted in 2007, and people’s governments at or above the county level can make early warnings and take corresponding prevention and control measures. The current provisions of the “Draft” have no problem in normal operation, but it may be difficult to deal with in an emergency.

It is recommended that the “Draft” more consider the connection with the “Emergency Response Law” and lower the level of the early warning subject.

2. Subject of the epidemic situation announcement

The main body of the current epidemic situation is announced, the level set in the “Draft” is too high, it is difficult to reach the grassroots. Article 32 of the Draft stipulates that the main body of the epidemic situation announcement is the State Council and the provincial level, and the provincial level also needs the authorization of the State Council. Not surprisingly, if this article becomes a formal law, the State Council will usually authorize the provinces through a special document, which can publish the epidemic in the administrative area under their jurisdiction and will no longer be authorized separately in the future. However, there will be such a problem: the announcement of this epidemic does not take into account the emergency scene, that is, once it enters an emergency state such as a new emergency, an epidemic, etc., after launching the Emergency Response Law, it will return to the “county level” early warning by “the people’s government above”.

It is recommended that the Draft lower the subject level of epidemic announcement.

VIII. Establish a dynamic adjustment and supervision system for compulsory immunization

Original Chinese article:





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