International Coalition for Animal Welfare (ICFAW)
ICFAW represents international animal protection organizations at the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). There is more about ICFAW’s work here. Humane Society International (HSI) currently chairs ICFAW, and World Animal Protection provides the secretariat. WAN is an active member. ICFAW supports the development and implementation of OIE standards on animal welfare and works to ensure that animal welfare is fairly represented at events such as the recent Global Animal Welfare Conference and the OIE General Assembly.
85th OIE General Assembly
The 2017 OIE General Assembly took place in Paris from 21 to 26 May. During the assembly, OIE delegates voted on the approval of new standards, including those covering the welfare of dairy cows and working equids. A resolution on animal welfare was passed, and the Global Animal Welfare Strategy, introduced at the 2016 Global Animal Welfare Conference in Mexico, was approved.
In addition, the assembly voted not to renew the mandate for the Animal Welfare Working Group (more information on the below). The OIE intends to create an Animal Welfare Forum, which will have its first meeting in early 2018. ICFAW has drafted a document outlining the role it sees for the forum and provided this to the OIE.
The OIE and ICFAW are amidst discussions regarding a cooperation agreement between the two bodies. The agreement will formalize ICFAW’s relationship with the OIE and will provide guidelines on how the organizations can share information and work together in the future. The OIE has accepted most of ICFAW’s revisions to the original draft and is now redrafting the agreement for final review by ICFAW. The agreement is set to be approved by the OIE Council in September 2017, and approved by the OIE General Session in May 2018.
A major part of the OIE’s work on animal welfare is the development of international standards. Here is an easy infographic with links to these. The OIE Terrestrial Code Commission is meeting this September to continue work on these. Expected outcomes of the meetings include:
- Potential changes to the definition of and introduction to animal welfare as found in the Glossary of the Terrestrial Code.
- A new chapter on laying hens.
- A draft article on guiding principles on the use of animal-based measures in animal welfare assessment.
- A draft chapter on pig welfare.
- A draft chapter on slaughter of reptiles.
Regional Animal Welfare Strategies
The OIE also supports the development of Regional Animal Welfare Strategies (RAWS), which are designed to progressively develop animal welfare across regions. There is more information about these here.
The OIE Platform on Animal Welfare in Europe had a meeting in June on the three regional priorities of transport, slaughter and stray dogs. The OIE has also added two new priorities to this action plan: disaster management and working equine welfare. These were requested by OIE member countries.
The OIE also hosted a workshop in Uzbekistan in late September which focused on working equids, rabies and stray dog issues.
Asia, Far East, and Oceania
The Asia, Far East, and Oceania Regional Animal Welfare Strategy Advisory Group is developing an action plan and met to discuss this on 21 September. The Advisory Group will also hold a side meeting at an OIE Regional Office meeting on 21 November in Malaysia.
Additionally, it is worth noting that Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return has now published a report assessing the risks involved with investments in animal production in Asia.
Led by the African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU IBAR), the Animal Welfare Strategy for Africa (AWSA) has now been endorsed, and this will be put to African Ministers in charge of Livestock in October. The implementation of the strategy will be supported by an Animal Platform for Animal Welfare (APAW) which was established concurrently. WAN has now been invited as a member of the APAW.
For organizations interested in relationship-building and advocacy with their country's Animal Welfare Focal Points and Delegates, who are representatives ot the OIE, WAN has produced a guidance document exploring the roles of these representatives and how to engage them. This resource comes at the request of members of the International Policy Forum and takes into consideration the advice and experiences of a number of Animal Welfare Focal Points.