China’s veterinarians have begun to set out the country's first welfare standards for the production and slaughter of poultry and other livestock, including pigs, cattle and sheep.

The Chinese Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) is joined in this project by around 30 leading businesses in farming, slaughtering, food processing and food services, the association’s head of animal welfare, Sun Zhongchao, told the news agency, Xinhua.

The standards are expected to cover production conditions (stocking density, heating/ventilation control), disease management (including feed and water hygiene) and the need to stun chickens before slaughter.

Proposed standards, which will not be mandatory, are due to be published in June 2016 and to receive government approval within two years, Sun said.

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A further sign of China’s growing interest in animal welfare was highlighted following a recent visit to the country by representatives of Australia’s beef industry.

Potential Chinese investors are passionate about increasing their knowledge of animal welfare practices, Kimberley Cattlemen's Association executive officer, Catherine Marriott, told ABC.

“They are looking for consultants to come in and help them around animal welfare, around building abattoirs, around building quarantine facilities, around feeding their cattle, so we were able to have some conversations around that,” she said.