August 01, 2016

 

 Welfare guidelines released for working equids

​Posted July 13, 2016

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has adopted the first set of global standards for ensuring the welfare of working equids. The scientifically based guidelines encompass various welfare aspects, ranging from the management of living conditions to the treatment of diseases and injuries, in particular by veterinarians. The document is available here.

“In many countries, working equids play an important role in agriculture and the transport of goods and people, directly and indirectly contributing to household livelihoods, food security, and economic prosperity. The benefits that they provide are often underestimated, and these animals are not always taken into account in national animal health and welfare programmes—in some cases, they are not even covered by national veterinary legislation. Thus, this text highlights the important role of national Veterinary Authorities in ensuring advances in animal welfare, and will eventually be completed by similar standards covering other species of working animals,” a May 27 OIE press release stated.



The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has adopted the first set of global standards for ensuring the welfare of working equids.

The adopted standards result from work over several months, after forming of an ad hoc group on the subject in 2014, according to the OIE. The organization’s U.S. delegates, who are selected by the Department of Agriculture and include representation by the AVMA, gave input that certain requirements related to resting were too prescriptive and should be removed. The U.S. delegates then provided suggested language that made it into the final version.

The standards on the welfare of working equids appear as a new chapter in the OIE’s Terrestrial Animal Health Code, complementing the broad range of standards relating to the welfare of land and aquatic animals. They became effective at the closing of the OIE General Session, held May 22-27 in Paris, and were posted online at the end of June.

“The welfare of these working equids is often poor because their owners lack sufficient resources to meet their needs or have insufficient knowledge of the appropriate care of equids. Certain working contexts, such as working in construction industries or in harsh environments, may present a particular risk to their welfare,” the chapter’s introduction states.

Terrestrial and aquatic animal welfare is an important issue for the OIE, which is organizing its fourth World Conference on the subject, to be held this December in Mexico.