DELEGATES to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) adopted a number of decisions related to international standards and animal health statuses during the organization's 81st general session May 26-31.
For animal welfare, OIE adopted a new chapter on broiler chickens, which includes criteria and measurables for animal welfare in broiler production systems (story, page 28).
"This new chapter is the culmination of a long-term undertaking, and it has taken OIE member countries several years to reach a consensus. It also goes to show that our organization's international standards-setting process, based on scientific excellence and democratically adopted standards — one country, one vote — achieves results of worldwide importance," OIE director general Dr. Bernard Vallat said.
The OIE delegates continued work in the field of antimicrobial resistance by updating an important chapter of the "OIE Code" on responsible and prudent use of antimicrobial agents in veterinary medicine.
During this year's general session, OIE recognized Bulgaria and Costa Rica as having "controlled risk" status for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). OIE said it recognized Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Slovenia and the U.S. as having a "negligible risk" for BSE.
"This announcement by OIE's Scientific Commission is very positive news for U.S. cattle producers. The U.S. being classified as negligible risk for BSE by the OIE further solidifies the fact that the safety and health of our cattle and our beef is a top priority for American cattlemen and women," National Cattlemen's Beef Assn. president-elect Bob McCan said.
"With the implementation of multiple interlocking safeguards, ... we have successfully been able to prevent BSE from becoming a threat to the U.S. beef supply, which remains the safest in the world. This announcement is an important step forward in increasing export opportunities for U.S. cattle producers," he added.
The official status of all countries that already had an officially recognized BSE status remained unchanged, OIE added.
OIE said it recognized new zones as being officially free from foot and mouth disease in Argentina, Bolivia and Peru, and it endorsed the national control program for foot and mouth disease that Bolivia submitted.
OIE, based in Paris, France, is the intergovernmental organization responsible for improving animal health worldwide. It currently has 178 member countries.