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Rev Sci Tech. 2014 Apr;33(1):67-76, 55-66.

Drivers of animal welfare policy in the Americas.

[Article in English, Spanish]


Owing to its large size and ethnic, social, cultural and economic diversity, the Americas' production volume is set to make the region one of the world's leading providers of animal foodstuffs. Animal husbandry, transport and slaughter conditions vary from country to country in response to their differing climatic and geographic characteristics. This article examines the main drivers of animal welfare in the Americas, including the standards of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), legislation, codes of practice and advances in education, training, research and development. It recognises the important roles played by all the various stakeholders in changing perceptions of animal welfare by raising public awareness and promoting communication and cooperation as drivers of overall change in the Americas. Regional and international organisations, public and private-sector bodies, academia and non-governmental organisations have launched a number of initiatives with encouraging results. In 2009, the OIE established the Chile-Uruguay Collaborating Centre for Animal Welfare Research, which is now the OIE Collaborating Centre for Animal Welfare and Livestock Production Systems and has recently incorporated Mexico. The Collaborating Centre works closely with official OIE Delegates and the Focal Points for Animal Welfare of national Veterinary Services. The OIE Regional Animal Welfare Strategy for the Americas was adopted in 2012, under the coordination of the OIE Regional Representation for the Americas, as a guide for developing future policies based on a regional approach. The way to achieve cultural change for improving animal welfare, operator safety and the sector's profitability is through training and knowledge transfer. The results demonstrate that the joint efforts of all institutions and the active role of the Collaborating Centre have been most effective, as have the continuing education programmes implemented by universities.

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