New generic guiding principles on animal welfare relating to livestock production systems and a new chapter on cattle bred for meat production were adopted at the World Organisation for Animal Health's 80th general session in late May.

“In 2011, the delegates of the OIE did not reach a consensus on a text for the animal welfare of broiler chickens, and this year’s consensus on livestock is a huge step forward," said World Organisation for Animal Health General Director Dr. Bernard Vallat. "This is a historical event that opens the way to the adoption of animal welfare standards of other farm animal production.”

The organization published the first international standards on the welfare of animals in 2005, addressing the transport of animals by land, sea and air, slaughter of animals for consumption and killing of animals for disease control, and then on the welfare of laboratory animals and stray dog control. Other key decisions taken at the 80th general session included new texts on the responsible and prudent use of antibiotics in animals.