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7,000 Chilean dairy cows arrive in China

By Zhang Yuchen (China Daily Latin America)

Updated: 2015-02-02

They run vigorously, though with little sense of right direction, bouncing left or right out of a Polaris ship. One month travel at sea left them no place of recognizing they have just traveled the longest distance, as living shipped animals.

From the warm home to the farthest end of the world, the 7,000 dairy cows, as the first batch of 30,000, made their curiosity obvious to the welcoming crowd. "This is a very important step, because it indicates the quality of the genetic material of our mass of cattle in Chile and also very good sanitary conditions that exist and have allowed this exchange," said Jorge Heine, the Chilean ambassador to China, who went to Tianjin to welcome the live cattle shipment.

The journey began Dec 28 in Puerto Montt, Chile, and ended on Jan 28 at the port of Tianjin. The cows will now be assessed by the Chinese health authorities and put through various checks in the ensuing 45 days before being transported to their final destinations.

"It is the first time for Chile to export their cattle in such a large scale," said Carlos Parra, minister of agricultural affairs at the Chilean embassy. "The cattle come from a safe country of milk products."

The heifers from the south Chile will be sent to seven Chinese companies in six provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi, Heilongjiang, Gansu, and Qinghai. There were 7,157 of them when they left Chile, and 11 died in the course of shipping, with 7,140 arriving. Six suffered eye infection.

The importing of Chilean dairy cows will balance cow trades in the Chinese market, said Dou Shulong, deputy director of animal control division of the General Administration of Quality Supervision Quality, Inspection and Quarantine of China.

Australia, New Zealand and newcomer Uruguay are the main exporters of dairy cows to China. It is expected that with the arrival of Chilean cows, increased competition in the sector will strengthen the Chinese dairy industry.

Moreover, Chilean cows coming from a country of great distance contribute to improving the health of the generation born from them, as their matched with local cattle, said Dou.

Weighing between 200 and 300 kilograms, heifers are generally bigger than the dairy cows imported into China in the past a couple of years. Every year China imports about 240,000 dairy cows from overseas.

Last year, the Chilean and Chinese authorities signed a record 28 agreements that certified Chilean meat products and living animals exported between the two countries. The draft of importing the heifers agreement was signed last April, and gained momentum last September, and the final edition of the agreement was completed during the APEC meetings.

The agreement reflects on Chile's aspiration to rank among the top 10 export powers in world's food, from its current 16th position.


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