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First OIE Global Conference on Animal Welfare

23-25 February 2004 90 years of expertise

Since 2013, a new Chapter of the Terrestrial Code has been adopted and includes criteria and measurables for animal welfare in broiler chickens production systems.
A.Thiermann ©

23-25 February 2004: Over 450 participants from more than 70 countries attended the First OIE Global Conference on Animal Welfare. 

Animal welfare is a complex issue with scientific, ethical, economic, cultural, social, religious and political dimensions. The objective of the first conference was to share these values and practical realities in the field in order to make recommendations and establish international standards on animal welfare. 
For a reminder

Work has been ongoing since 2004

- 2008: Second OIE Global Conference on Animal Welfare ‘Putting the OIE standards to work’
For a reminder

- 2012: Third OIE Global Conference on Animal Welfare ‘Implementing the OIE standards - addressing regional expectations’
For a reminder

- 2016: Fourth OIE Global Conference on Animal Welfare (under preparation)

Animal welfare, a growing concern

Over the past decade, veterinarians, farmers and consumers have been according increasing importance to animal welfare. Back in 2001, the OIE identified it as a priority in its Strategic Plan. OIE Member Countries mandated the organisation to take an international lead in the area of animal welfare and to develop relevant recommendations and guidelines. The OIE is recognised by the World Trade Organization (WTO) as the international reference organisation for animal health, with animal health being a key component of animal welfare.

The OIE’s work to fulfil its mandate as “global coordinator” of animal welfare recommendations has led to a great deal of progress since discussions began in 2002.

OIE Standards on animal welfare

Since 2004, the OIE has been developing animal welfare standards for inclusion in the OIE Terrestrial Code and Aquatic Code. Welfare standards already cover such key issues as: transport and slaughter of animals; stray dog population control; use of animals in research and education; and beef cattle and broiler chicken production systems. 

Standards on the welfare of terrestrial animals (OIE Terrestrial Code - Chapter 7)

“Once the decision to transport the animals has been made, the welfare of the animals during their journey is the paramount consideration.”(Terrestrial Code)
Ta7za on flickR, original name : Live stock ©

Standards on the welfare of farmed fish (OIE Aquatic Code - Chapter 7)

“Improvements in farmed fish welfare can often improve productivity and hence lead to economic benefits.”(Aquatic Code)
dalbera on flickR, original name : Le village flottant des pisciculteurs (Chau Doc, Vietnam) ©

The above standards were incorporated into existing animal health standards in the OIE Terrestrial Code and Aquatic Code.

All OIE Standards are science-based and adopted democratically by the 178 OIE Member Countries.

Future developments in animal welfare

The OIE strives constantly to propose improvements in new animal welfare-related areas.

Regional platforms for the implementation of OIE standards by Member Countries have recently been established in Asia and Europe. The Middle East is working on its own platform, to be launched in 2014.

The OIE is progressing with the development of welfare standards for dairy cattle and working animals.

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