Animals around the world are a step closer to receiving the humane conditions they deserve, after delegates from all 167 member countries of the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) adopted live transport and slaughter standards in May.
The guidelines cover sea and land transport, as well as slaughter for human consumption and humane killing for purposes of disease control. They provide "a framework within which exists the potential to improve the welfare of the billions of farm animals," according to a statement by Compassion in World Farming.
While the standards are voluntary and not legally binding, they are important because they demonstrate clear global agreement that animal welfare is an important issue. Hopefully they will initiate the adoption of humane enforceable laws in countries that currently have little or no legislation addressing farm animal transport and slaughter.
"It is a significant step forward for the OIE and the international community at large," said OIE Director General Bernard Vallat. "We reaffirm the essential link between the health and welfare of animals."
This action is a follow-up to the historic Global Conference on Animal Welfare, held in Paris in Feb. 2004 (AWI Quarterly, Spring 2004). The OIE will next establish production standards for farm animals.