Perceptions of animal welfare differ from one region to another and between one culture and another, as do and the ways animals contribute to human society. It is for this reason that the World Organisation for Animal Health – OIE‘s work in developing international standards must have a solid scientific basis, must involve wide engagement of all stakeholders, must ensure a holistic view of the systems within which animals are kept and used by humans, and must aim to have a tangible impact on animal welfare.
In May 2017, all OIE Member Countries adopted the first Global Animal Welfare Strategy, which had been presented at the 4th Global Conference on Animal Welfare, which took place in Guadalajara (Mexico) in December 2016.
The strategy includes the following 𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐩𝐢𝐥𝐚𝐫𝐬 :
⚈ 𝐃𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐩𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐥 𝐰𝐞𝐥𝐟𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐬;
⚈ 𝐂𝐚𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐛𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐝𝐮𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧;
⚈ 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐠𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭, 𝐨𝐫𝐠𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐜;
⚈ 𝐈𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐥 𝐰𝐞𝐥𝐟𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐩𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐞𝐬.
The first OIE standards on animal welfare were published in the Terrestrial Code in 2004 and in the Aquatic Code in 2008, respectively. They are regularly updated as scientific knowledge evolves, and new standards are developed to cover different aspects of welfare. Like all OIE standards, these texts are science based.
Member Countries, experts and relevant international governmental and non-governmental organisations are consulted throughout the development process. This ensures that the standards are in line with the most recent scientific developments. Each year the OIE World Assembly of Delegates adopts the new and revised standards.
The first OIE standards on animal welfare addressed animal transport, the slaughter of animals, and killing for disease control purposes. Subsequently, other standards included the use of animals in research and education, stray dog population control and the welfare of working equids. The OIE’s most recent work on animal welfare standards has been in relation to production systems for beef and dairy cattle, broiler chickens and, most recently, pigs with four new chapters adopted since 2012.
Unlike the OIE’s animal health and veterinary public health standards, animal welfare standards are not recognised in the WTO SPS Agreement (an agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures). Nonetheless, as science-based international standards adopted by the OIE World Assembly of Delegates, they are the internationally recognised standards for animal welfare.
📎 OIE about Animal Welfare: https://www.oie.int/…/oie-standards-and-international-trade/
📎 OIE Global Animal Welfare Strategy: https://www.oie.int/…/docs/pdf/Others/EN_OIE_AW_Strategy.pdf