Source: World Organization for Animal Health
Today, members of the World Organization for Animal Health adopted the first global strategy on animal welfare. Primarily endorsed at the 4th OIE Global Conference on Animal welfare in Guadalajara, Mexico in December, it aims to achieve “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.”
The strategy is based on the following four pillars.
Development of international animal welfare standards
OIE animal welfare standards will continue to be developed with input from international experts, based on relevant scientific research and taking into account associated ethical considerations and practical experience. In particular, additional work is currently in progress on standards for pig production systems and the slaughter and killing of farmed reptiles for their skins and meat.
Enhancement of capacity building and training of veterinary services
As key players in animal welfare issues, veterinary services (including public and private sector veterinarians) need to have the appropriate capacities.
Communication with governments, national and international organizations, and the public to raise awareness on animal welfare
Ensuring the welfare of animals is a responsibility that must be shared among numerous stakeholders. Mutual recognition and constructive engagement among parties are necessary to achieve sustained improvements to animal welfare. Member countries are therefore highly encouraged to support the development of national programs for raising awareness of animal welfare and educating key players, particularly livestock owners, animal handlers, religious and community leaders and other key groups, such as school students.
Progressive implementation of OIE standards on animal welfare and their corresponding policies
In this regard, member countries are urged to integrate OIE standards into their national legislations.
Furthermore, this strategy recommends the establishment of a new forum which will provide a platform for dialogue between technical experts and interested stakeholders. This platform will provide an opportunity for their engagement in the OIE animal welfare work program.