Representatives from 180 countries that are members of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) have voted to adopt the organization’s first global strategy on animal welfare.
At OIE’s 85th General Assembly in Paris, France, delegates endorsed the strategy – developed at a special conference in Mexico in December 2016 – that aims to create “a world where the welfare of animals is respected, promoted and advanced in ways that complement the pursuit of animal health, human well-being, socio-economic development, and environmental sustainability.”
Among the key pillars of the OIE Global Animal Welfare Strategy is the development of international standards for animal welfare, which the OIE stresses will continue to be developed based on scientific research and with input from experts in the field. Ethical aspects and practical experience will be taken into account.
Key strategies of the OIE standards
To set mutually acceptable standards and to avoid duplicating effort, OIE is cooperating in the creation of these standards with relevant international and regional governmental and non-governmental organizations.
Welfare standards for pig production are among the topics mentioned as currently under review.
Other pillars of the strategy are the enhancement of national veterinary services, communication to raise awareness of animal welfare with governments, organizations and consumers, and encouragement to incorporate the OIE standards into national legislation.
Where appropriate, region-specific strategies are being supported by the OIE in order to establish a harmonized approach to animal welfare across neighboring countries.
OIE standards for animal health have been recognized as a global reference by the World Trade Organization since its formation in 1995. Because of the importance of health in wellbeing, and at the request of member countries, OIE broadened its mandate to include animal welfare in 2002.