China Project

In April-May 2009, Vets Beyond Borders members first collaborated with Act Asia to deliver clinical training courses to veterinarians and veterinary nurses directly involved in protecting and promoting animal welfare in China. Instruction was delivered through lectures and practical classes in Beijing and Shenzen, including:

  • Animal handling
  • Principles of surgery and anaesthesia
  • Appropriate administration of analgesia and antimicrobials, and
  • Effective use of internet resources

This initiative, sponsored by Naturewatch and Humane Society International, facilitated skills exchange between VBB member veterinarians (Dr Elaine Ong, Dr Beth McGennisken) and veterinary nurses (Ms Robyn Ireland, Ms Ann Letch) and those in China and, as a result of media attention, also served to strengthen the growing interest in animal welfare in China. VBB hopes to further its linkages with animal welfare groups in China in the future and extends thanks to all collaborators for their contributions to this pilot project. Grateful acknowledgement is also due to Box Hill TAFE, for kindly sharing their veterinary nursing training materials for teaching purposes.

ACTASia Cat poster


Due to the enormous success of the program, the training team was invited to return to China in July 2010 under the Vets Beyond Borders banner. The original team was accompanied by feline specialist, Dr Richard Gowan, veterinarians Dr Charmaine Tham and Dr Christopher Barton, veterinary nurse Carolyn Maguire and veterinary student Jimmy ChiChoPan who also presented lectures and practical classes. The team delivered two advanced training courses to selected vets in Shenzen and in Bejing, where they worked with the Bejing Government. The vets undergoing the advanced training course will subsequently have the skills to train local vets in China.

With improved surgical skills and an enhanced understanding of the principles of animal welfare, local vets are more likely to engage in the humane control of stray animal populations, educate the public about animal rights, and ultimately improve animal welfare in China. For the full 2010 report please Click Here .


In 2011 the VBB team of trainers was again involved in training in China organised in association with ActAsia. The VBB team again consisted of veterinarians Dr Chris Barton & Dr Elaine Ong, and veterinary nurses Ms Robyn Ireland and Mrs Ann Letch. The focus in 2011 was to test the 'Train the Trainers' programme and ideal. Lectures and training were provided and collaborations for the future of the programme were identified. This was another successful and awe inspiring programme in 2011 and full details can be read in the 2011 Report.

Act Asia is dedicated to building a sustainable professional animal movement in Asia by supporting animal welfare and protection groups already working in Asia. The organisation provides skills training and collaborates with other projects for a greater effect. ACTAsia also actively promotes animal welfare legislative changes in China, and is working to increase public awareness about animal welfare and protection issues throughout Asia.

Vets Beyond Borders is delighted to be collaborating with ACTAsia in their efforts to improve the welfare and protection for animals in China.


Subsequent visits have been made to China by the VBB team and these were mainly to follow up and ensure the training from previous years was current.

For a 2015 update of the most recent visit to China by the VBB training team please see our 2014/2015 Annual Report.