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China Sets Its Lawyers On Animal Disease

BEIJING - As the world's largest producer of poultry, livestock and aquatic products, China has much to lose from outbreaks of animal diseases. It is estimated that animal diseases cost China 40 billion yuan annually. Now, China's top legislature is deliberating a draft amendment to the law on animal disease and hopes to prevent future animal epidemics in doing so.

By 2008 it is hoped that local governments above the county level will have a surveillance network to monitor animal diseases, said the draft amendment which was tabled at the 27th session of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC).

Veterinary departments at the central and provincial levels are obligated to issue early warnings against possible outbreaks based on thorough epidemiological study, according to the draft.

The draft also demands a prompt and transparent reporting system, saying that all government agencies, businesses and individuals must immediately report outbreaks of animal diseases to veterinary departments.

Officials and government employees, who fail to take prompt preventative measures, delay reporting or try to cover up outbreaks of animal diseases should face administrative discipline, according to the draft.

the Fish Site Editor

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