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International Standard Setting Activities - WOAH

Successful movement and trade of U.S. animals and animal products within the global marketplace requires participation in the activities of the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH – founded as OIE). The United States (U.S.), through its International Animal Health Standards Team in the Office of International Affairs, actively participates in helping shape the Animal Health standards proposed by the WOAH.

What is the Role of the WOAH?

The World Trade Organization recognizes the WOAH as the body for setting international animal health standards. The major functions of the WOAH 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 WOAH 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.

WOAH Specialist Commissions, Working Groups and Ad hoc 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 by the Specialist Commissions and then presented for adoption to the World Assembly of Delegates at the annual General Session of the WOAH.

The WOAH has five Regional Commissions to support its Members in the different regions of the world. The U.S. is a member of the Regional Commissions for the Americas and for Asia, Far East and Oceania.

What is the Role of Veterinary Services?

The Deputy Administrator of Veterinary Services, also known as the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), has been designated as the U.S. Delegate, and as such, is charged with managing animal health standard-setting activities related to the WOAH. The CVO coordinates the U.S. comments to animal health standards proposed for adoption by WOAH.

While it is the intent of the U.S. to support adoption of scientifically based 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.

The draft standards below will come from the following WOAH Specialist Commissions:

Draft standards (Chapters) available for comment are offered in Microsoft Word format (docx). These files must be downloaded and saved. The files are opened with Microsoft Word.

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