World Animal Net believes that to create lasting change for animals it is necessary to engage policy processes at the national, regional and international levels. We work to influence policies for animals on an international level, primarily at the United Nations, World Bank, and at the World Organisation for Animal Health as a member of the International Coalition for Animal Welfare (ICFAW, a forum for international organizations to collaborate on OIE advocacy). At the same time, we provide resources to help national animal protection organizations leverage international policy frameworks to push animal welfare policy forward in their own country.
For example, there is now a continental Animal Welfare Strategy covering all of Africa for which WAN has provided support and expertise. With this strategy now in place, African countries are now responsible for implementing national animal welfare policies to fulfill the continental strategy. We have published the Model Animal Welfare Act to provide a starting place for policymakers and animal protection organizations to do just that.
We are now pleased to add another resource to our collection: Guidance for Animal Protection Organisations: Engaging National Delegates and Animal Welfare Focal Points of the World Organisation for Animal Health. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) is a key player in moving animal welfare forward internationally, as they have produced international standards on animal welfare which have been agreed by 181 member countries. The OIE has delegates and “Animal Welfare Focal Points” in each country who are now responsible for implementing these standards. This new resource was developed at the suggestion of one our International Policy Forum members, who indicated that some of these appointees were unclear on their roles and obligations in these positions. We have developed this resource with animal protection organizations in mind, to help them in engaging these appointees in their own countries and helping them fulfill their mandates.
We consulted a number of Animal Welfare Focal Points from around the world, and their advice and ideas have been included in this document. We have also recently been in contact with several Animal Welfare Focal Points from African countries, and were pleasantly surprised and encouraged by their ambitions to improve and implement animal welfare legislation in their respective countries, and were pleased to be able to provide resources to them to help make this shared vision a reality.
We hope that with this guide in hand, more animal protection organizations will feel confident in engaging their country’s OIE appointees and working together for a better future for animals worldwide.