International policy and what it means for animals.
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This brief overview of international animal protection policy developments has been compiled from information provided by World Animal Net (WAN)’s International Policy Forum.

Please share with your animal protection contacts and other stakeholders, and do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or comments.
There is more background information about the International Policy Environment on our website here.

World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

The OIE has been mandated to take the lead internationally on animal welfare and to elaborate recommendations and guidelines covering animal welfare practices. WAN’s website explains more about its work here.

Global Animal Welfare (AW) Conference

The OIE’s Global Animal Welfare (AW) Conference took place from 6-8th December 2016, in Guadalajara, Mexico. There is more information about this, including a program, here.

The International Coalition for Animal Welfare (ICFAW) organized a pre-meeting with animal protection organizations (APOs) attending the conference which provided a chance for organizations to collaborate and prepare a strategy for the conference.

WAN helped ICFAW to prepare briefings for APOs attending the Global Conference. These briefings included suggested issues for questions and briefings on each plenary session and workshop; background briefings on other priority issues; defensive briefings on issues that could be detrimental to AW; and suggested resolutions that we would like to see adopted.

WAN is delighted that the OIE accepted our poster on the Model AW Act for the conference's poster session. The poster can be viewed here. Other APOs presenting posters included ICFAW (Partnerships and implementation), ICAM (Guidance for monitoring and evaluating implementation of OIE’s Stray Dog Control standard) and the Donkey Sanctuary (Sector collaboration on the implementation of the OIE equine standard). You can view all the conference posters here

The conference culminated in the presentation of the draft Global Animal Welfare Strategy and Recommendations of the conference. The draft Recommendations can be viewed here, and APOs can submit comments on the conference recommendations until 22 December, 2016. For more information about the outcomes of the conference and to view all posters, presentation slides, and abstracts, click here

Global Animal Welfare Strategy

The OIE drafted a new Global Animal Welfare Strategy which was presented at the Global AW Conference. However, this will not be tabled until the OIE’s 2017 General Session, so there is time for consultation. More information about this strategy can be found in the OIE's press release here.  

International Standards

A major part of the OIE’s work on AW is the development of international standards. Here is an easy infographic with links to these.

The OIE is currently working on a new pig welfare standard, and ICFAW has seen the first draft of this and submitted comments. 

ICFAW has also commented on a proposed draft Article 7.1.X on “Guiding Principles on the use of animal based measures”, which will be added into the Introduction to the Recommendations for Animal Welfare. While this new section includes some useful guidance on outcomes-based measures, one concern is that the current wording favors outcomes-based measures as opposed to prescribed management and environmental conditions. Clearly, as animal advocates, we wish to see input-based measures included wherever these have been shown to be beneficial to AW.

Regional AW Strategies

The OIE also supports the development of Regional AW Strategies (RAWS), which are designed to progressively develop AW across regions. There is more information about these here.

The OIE Platform on Animal Welfare in Europe now has a dedicated website
There was a meeting of the Platform Steering Group in Madrid on 17-18 November 2016. This discussed stray dog control (including a Balkans stray dog roadmap and work on a West Eurasia stray dog report), long distance transport (a “train the trainers” workshop in Kazakhstan and developing Middle East activities and self-assessment questionnaires) and slaughter (twinning, e-learning and assessments). A new Action Plan is being consolidated (this will be the second Action Plan), and will be presented/discussed in a third stakeholders consultation early next year.

In Asia, there was a teleconference meeting of the new RAWS Advisory Group (AG), chaired by New Zealand representative Dr. Kate Littin.  This included new tasks to re-start RAWS work in the region, including AW activities reporting, a bi-annual newsletter and updating the website. There will also be a face-to-face meeting in Mexico, for any members present, and this will include discussion on an updated Action Plan and the development of Key Performance Indicators for member countries.

In Africa, the African Union’s Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) is beginning work on the development of a continental AW strategy. Work will begin with a task force retreat on the development of the strategy. Then there are plans for a larger continental meeting in March to validate the strategy and establish the African AW platform. 
Also, we note that following the successful validation of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) RAWS, IGAD is now appointing a consultant to develop National AW Strategies for its member countries.

AW Focal Points

Some APOs have reported that their OIE AW Focal Point has not been carrying out all the duties of this role stipulated in the Terms of Reference. WAN is in the process of drafting a blog which will give tips and advice on effectively carrying out these duties. Follow our blog to receive this post when it is ready. 

Regional Economic Communities (RECs)

Now that we are seeing the agreement of RAWS and regional AW Action Plans and Platforms across the globe, we think the time is overdue for RECs to include AW within the sphere of their activities. The European Union (EU) has provided a good example of how AW can be developed throughout a region when a REC embraces it as a policy objective (the list of EU achievements includes, for example, the recognition of animal sentience in the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, and the ban on confinement housing for sows which went in to effect in the region in 2013). However, very few other RECs across the world have yet incorporated AW in their strategies and action plans, a notable exception being IGAD, as mentioned above. Within Africa, there has also been some interest from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the inclusion of AW. As the Asia, Far East and Oceania (AFEO) RAWS was the first to be concluded, and has broad support throughout the region, further advocacy with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) may be helpful.

AW & Development

WAN has been advocating on AW & Development for many years. At present, AW is not usually considered in international and national development work. But it should be mainstreamed in every country’s development – which would bring additional focus, resources and technical assistance to the issue. One area which has enormous potential for delivering AW messages directly to farmers and rural communities would be the inclusion of AW in veterinary and agricultural extension work. In this regard, one development of interest is a new project from the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD - an African Union planning and coordinating technical body) to promote technical vocational education and training in the agriculture sector (ATVET) in support of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). This project is supported by the German government through its development arm, GIZ.

Lending Institutions

As regards lending institutions, the International Finance Corporation (IFC)’s Good Practice Note (Improving Animal Welfare in Livestock Operations) and the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Safeguards (which also includes AW and references the IFC Note) are a good starting point for ensuring that AW is respected and protected in lending. The ING Group, a Dutch lending institution, has even stricter AW standards in its Environmental and Social Risk Framework, (Section 4.3. covers Animal Welfare). It is important that other lending institutions also adopt AW safeguards for their lending. [For Example, Civil Society has been calling on the new BRICS bank to develop environmental and social safeguards - See this article]. 

Countries can also use their funding to persuade development banks and investment institutions to safeguard and enhance AW, as Austria has done (See Humane Society International Press Release on this subject). 

WAN recently published a new Best Practice Resource on animal welfare and development, which was prepared in cooperation with ICFAW member organizations. This is intended to assist development stakeholders seeking to incorporate or enhance animal welfare aspects in their work (such as development banks and funders, international and regional organizations – including Regional Economic Communities). We have sent this to our contacts at the World Bank, where it was warmly received. They believe it will form the basis for a practical approach to provide policy recommendations and to incorporate best practice in the World Bank’s development work going forward.

AW & Trade

The EU has been good in promoting AW in bilateral trade agreements. Some other countries have done likewise. More frequent reference to animal welfare in trade agreements, especially between industrialized countries and developing economies, could support the preservation and expansion of higher-welfare animal production systems on both sides, and also facilitate trade in higher-welfare products at the local and international level.

Agreements (such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the trade agreement between the EU and the United States and CETA, a similar agreement between the EU and Canada) may hamper AW progress by permitting EU markets to be flooded with lower welfare products from the US. This article explains this further. US President Elect, Donald Trump, is against free trade, and has threatened to renegotiate or pull out of trade deals. 
The Dutch Party for the Animals has voiced its opposition to permitting free trade at the expense of the animals, and explains this further here.

For more information, see Animal Welfare and Trade.

The Eurogroup for Animals has developed a “Model Animal Welfare Chapter” for including animal welfare in free trade agreements. 


The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP 17) took take place in Johannesburg (at the Sandton Convention Centre), South Africa from 24 September-05 October 2016. Here is a round-up of the outcomes from Animals 24-7, and an informative article by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

United Nations

The AP movement has been advocating for AW at UN level for many decades, so we were disappointed that our concerns were still not specifically reflected in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) outcomes. These consist of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets.  

The SDGs of most interest to APOs include:
Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
[Targets include increased investment for agricultural research and extension services.]
Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
[Targets include aspects such as sustainability and company reporting; minimizing food waste; information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature; strengthening scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production.]
Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.
Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.
[Targets include action against poaching and trafficking.]

Governments will also develop their own national indicators to assist in monitoring progress made on the goals and targets. The follow-up and review process will be undertaken on an annual basis by the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development through a SDG Progress Report to be prepared by the Secretary-General.  

There has, however, been some recent progress on AW by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN (FAO). The FAO recently developed “Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains” together with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which includes an emphasis on animal welfare.  Also, the UN’s World Committee on Food Security recently adopted policy recommendations on AW in farming (also here).

The OIE has an official agreement with the FAO. However, this was adopted in May 2004, and does not yet include AW. 

COP 22

The 2016 climate change conference, the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) took place in Marrakech, Morocco from 7-18th November 2016. The outcomes can be found here.

Réseau Associatif pour la Protection Animale et le Développement Durable (RAPAD), a Moroccan APO/Sustainable Development Organization, was named the Space Leader for "Fauna and Flora", and secured a space to promote Conservation and Animal Welfare along with national Moroccan and international partners including the Pan African Animal Welfare Alliance (PAAWA) and Brighter Green.

COP 13

The thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will take place in Cancun, Mexico, 4 - 17 December 2016. On the agenda are the Aichi Biodiversity targets, a draft decision to encourage countries to mitigate habitat loss and negative human-wildlife interactions, as well as reduction in the use of certain pharmaceutical drugs that threaten wildlife populations. The promotion of “sustainable bushmeat” is also on the agenda. 

What is the International Policy Forum?

In 2014, WAN established the International Policy Forum to address significant and emerging international issues in animal protection. The WAN International Policy Forum convenes a diverse group of key representatives in the global field of animal protection to collaborate, network, and develop policy proposals and joint advocacy to advance strategic animal protection policies and their implementation.

This policy update is the brainchild of International Policy Forum member Pei Feng Su of ACTAsia. Thank you Pei Feng!
Copyright © 2016 World Animal Net, All rights reserved.

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