One of the goals of the AAWS is to ensure that Australia is actively engaged in international partnerships and developments to improve animal welfare.
The AAWS model had been taken offshore and Australia has provided leadership and some funding to support the development of regional animal welfare strategies in the Middle East and Asia/Oceania in collaboration with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), World Society for the Protection of Animals, the European Union and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.
AAWS funded the development and is continuing to support the implementation of the OIE Regional Animal Welfare Strategy for Asia, The Far East and Oceania (RAWS) that involves 29 countries. The Regional Animal Welfare Strategy (RAWS) for Asia, the Far East and Oceania was endorsed by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as a global model for other regions. Australia chairs the RAWS coordinating committee and DAFF provides secretariat support to the committee. The RAWS has been revised for the period of activity from 2013-2015.
Some highlights of animal welfare progress under the RAWS include:
• Thailand has had over 450 people trained in poultry handling and slaughter and a draft animal welfare strategy has been written
• Malaysia has launched a National Animal Welfare Strategic Plan, 2012-2020, and an animal welfare law has been drafted
• The People’s Republic of China has translated the RAWS and will publish it this year, and has drafted three farm animal welfare standards for stakeholder comment
• Bhutan has declared that layer hens must not be raised in battery cages and launched the 2nd Phase of National Dog Population Management and Rabies Control Program, and
Indonesia has progressed OIE managed training for cattle under the OIE Improved Animal Welfare Program being funded by the Australian Government and the Philippines will commence this training in 2013.
The ‘RAWS-News’ newsletter reports on animal welfare achievements, issues and progress. The December 2013 newsletter is available here.
A copy of the revised RAWS action plan is available here.
Australia strongly supports OIE and is currently in a position of influence with the Australian Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mark Schipp, being a member of the OIE Council (Board). Dr Peter Thornber has been appointed as the expert representative for Asia, The Far East and Oceania, to the OIE Animal Welfare Working Group that develops international animal welfare standards and guidelines.
OIE has a current focus on implementing its international animal welfare standards globally and Australia is assisting by funding a dedicated trainer for four years for the OIE Improved Animal Welfare Program. Training resources are being developed and training courses conducted to improve animal handling and slaughter. Australia is leading the development of a Guideline for Implementing the OIE Animal Welfare Standards that will eventually be agreed by OIE’s 178 Member Countries.Australia had a strong presence at OIE’s 3rd Global Conference on animal welfare held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 6-8 November 2012 with registrants from government, the livestock industries, non-government organisations and the private sector. The theme of the conference was on implementing the OIE animal welfare standards. Three DAFF officers were invited speakers as well as an Australian industry poultry scientist representing the International Poultry Council.
The Australian Government requires exporters to have arrangements in place along the export chain here in Australia and in destination countries so that Australian exported livestock are managed according to the OIE animal welfare standards. This is the basis of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS).
The recognition by OIE of the New Zealand/Australia OIE Collaborating Centre on Animal Welfare Science and Bioethical Analysis was also considered an important vehicle to assist the AAWS research and development efforts. The OIE Collaborating Centre on Animal Welfare Science and Bioethical Analysis is finalising a cooperation project with University Putra in Malaysia to increase animal welfare science capacity in the region. This development program is being jointly funded by AAWS, the New Zealand and Malaysian governments, the University Putra, the European Union and the World Society for the Protection of Animals. It will involve a number of surveys and training workshops across four countries: Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the People’s Republic of China.
The annual OIE Collaborating Centre report for 2012 on its research activities and publications is available here.