International Animal Health Standards Team
Successful competition of US animals and animal products within the global marketplace requires participation in the activities of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The United States, through its International Animal Health Standards Team, actively participates in helping shape the draft Animal Health standards proposed by the OIE.
The World Trade Organization recognizes the OIE as the body for setting animal health standards. The major functions of the OIE are to collect and disseminate information on the distribution and occurrence of animal diseases and to ensure that scientifically based standards govern international trade in animals and animal products. The OIE helps to achieve this through the development and revision of international standards for diagnostic tests and vaccines, and for the safe trade of animals and animal products. In addition, Member countries approved to expand the OIE's mandate to include the development of animal welfare standards, food safety standards (from farm up to prior to slaughter), and assist with the improvement of veterinary infrastructures using the Performance of the Veterinary Services (PVS) tool.
To encourage implementation of the OIE recommended standards on animal welfare, some of the OIE regions have developed animal welfare strategies. The regional animal welfare strategy for the Region of the Americas can be found at: http://www.rr-americas.oie.int/docs/ESTRATEGIA%20REGIONAL.pdf
Specialist Commissions and Working Groups undertake the initial analysis and preparation of draft standards which are then circulated to Member Countries for review and comment. Draft standards are revised accordingly and then presented for adoption to the World Assembly of Delegates during the annual General Session of the OIE.
The Deputy Administrator of Veterinary Services (VS), as the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) is charged with managing U.S. animal health standard-setting activities related to the OIE. The CVO coordinates the submission of U.S. comments to animal health standards proposed for adoption or for consideration by OIE.
Generally, if a country has concerns with a particular draft standard and supports those concerns with sound technical information, the pertinent Specialist Commission will revise that standard accordingly and present the revised draft for adoption at the General Session in May. In the event that a country's concerns regarding a draft standard are not taken into account, that country may refuse to support the standard when it comes up for adoption at the General Session. However, each member country is obligated to review, comment, and make decisions regarding the adoption of standards strictly on their scientific merits.
While it is the intent of the United States to support adoption of international standards -- and to participate actively and fully in their development -- it should be recognized that the U.S. position on a specific draft standard would depend on the acceptability and technical merit of the final draft.
Additional information regarding these draft standards can be obtained by contacting:
USDA, APHIS, Veterinary Services
Please provide your comments to any of the three e-mail addresses below:
Chapters for comment are offered in Portable Document Format (pdf) and Rich Text Format (rtf). You will need to install the Acrobat Reader to view and then print the pdf files. This reader is available for free from Adobe. The Rich Text Format files must be downloaded and saved to a disk or your hard drive. These files can be opened with Microsoft Word or Windows Wordpad.
Last Modified: July 10, 2013