USDA Requests Comments on OIE Reports on Farm Animal Welfare
November 18, 2009 - In 2004, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) took on the official task of developing international animal welfare guidelines for its 175 member countries. The United States of America is a member of the OIE, and our representative is Dr. John Clifford, Chief Veterinary Officer for USDA.
The OIE met in September 2009 to discuss various issues regarding animal diseases and welfare. Several farm animal welfare documents were issued for comment. As the USA representative to the OIE, USDA has requested comments on each of these reports be submitted by no later than December 8th.
Since 2005, the Animal Agriculture Alliance has worked with USDA to serve as the coordinator for USA agricultural stakeholder input to the farm animal welfare related documents in order to provide USDA a consensus opinion on behalf of animal agriculture. Otherwise, USDA would be left to interpret which comments best represent agriculture's perspective.
To collect stakeholder input in this process, the Alliance organized an OIE Stakeholder Review Team which consists of more than 140 individuals, representing more than 40 organizations, including all members of the Animal Agriculture Coalition. Communications are distributed to all team members and from the input received, the Alliance then develops one consensus report to submit to USDA.
Six reports related directly to farm animal welfare were issued for comment this round. Four have been previously approved, and comments are only sought on the new revisions: Transport by Land, Transport by Air, Slaughter for Human Consumption and Killing for Disease Control Purposes. Two new reports were issued for which comments are sought on the entire reports: Animal Welfare and Broiler Chicken Production and Animal Welfare and Beef Cattle Production.
To efficiently address all of these reports before the deadline, the Alliance has coordinated four independent working groups (Transportation, Slaughter, Broilers, Beef Cattle) to develop draft comments for consideration by its larger OIE Stakeholder Review Team. The process is underway and the draft reports should be distributed to the Review Team by November 30th for further comment.
If you are not currently receiving emails on this initiative from the Alliance, but are interested in getting involved, please contact Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance Executive Vice President, at KJohnson@animalagalliance.org or by calling (703)562-5160.
The OIE Reports (pre-comments) can be accessed from the Alliance website from its homepage by clicking the OIE button under Hot Topics.