The College of Agriculture’s Animal Health Sciences program played host Thursday to a Chinese delegation interested in learning more about controlling animal diseases and veterinarian teaching methods.
The delegation, which consisted of 16 government officials, veterinarians, academics, disease control and agricultural experts, had also toured facilities on the East Coast and in Sacramento, according to Jorge Salazar, a representative for Infinity Medical Consulting, the company that arranged the visit.
“They’re on a fact-finding mission to better understand our handling of food products, disease control and pet relationships,” Salazar said.
The group toured the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center and the Equine Research Facility and visited AGRIscapes, where Dr. Oscar Chavez, an assistant professor and director of animal health sciences, made a presentation about Cal Poly Pomona’s Animal Health Sciences program.
The four-year program, which was established in 2006, trains students to become registered veterinary technicians capable of taking X-rays and performing other tests of animals, preparing them for surgery, administering anesthesia and closing wounds. It is a career track for many students who want to work with animals, but cannot afford the increasing cost of attending veterinary schools.
China’s veterinary profession is only now trying to establish its first-ever licensing requirements and standards, Chavez said.
“It’s sort of a work in progress. It’s not just an introduction to a new program, but to a whole new concept,” he said. “It’s going to take time. I’m sure there are going to be growing pains.”
The delegation peppered Chavez and other college officials with questions about the veterinary technician program and its entrance requirements, animal vaccinations, and treating and controlling animal diseases.
Hongyuan Qian, the head of the delegation and vice director of the Chinese Agricultural Ministry’s Animal Disease Control Center in Beijing, said he appreciated seeing the facilities and equipment and hearing about a curriculum that combines both theory and practice.
“We have learned a lot from your ideas and educational methods,” he said through a translator.