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Thursday, 15 December 2016 21:23

World Animal Net Attends the 4th Global Animal Welfare Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico

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Last week, I was excited to have had the opportunity to attend the World Organisation for Animal Health’s (OIE’s) 4th Global Animal Welfare Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico. Together with WAN co-founders Wim de Kok and Janice Cox, and Model Animal Welfare Act co-author Dr. iur. Sabine Lennkh, we joined numerous other animal protection organizations (APOs) in representing the interests of animals at the conference.

Janice at posterThe OIE is the body responsible for setting international standards for animal welfare. You can read more about their role here, where we have put together a glossary of terms. To better understand the standards that the OIE creates, there is this useful infographic, where you can easily see what standards have been created and which standards are still in progress, as well as access them for further reading.

The Global Animal Welfare Conference presents a unique opportunity to advocate for animals, as it occurs only every four years and sets the organization’s strategy for the next four years. This conference in particular was important as the Global Animal Welfare Strategy was introduced and an early opportunity to provide comments was provided. You can read more about the conference and access the programme here.

For our part, WAN was proud to have played a key role in assisting the International Coalition for Animal Welfare (ICFAW) in strategizing and briefing the APO community. Janice Cox prepared a number of briefings on key issues and led a pre-meeting with APOs one day prior to the conference, which gave the numerous groups an opportunity to brainstorm, collaborate, and ensure that each area of concern in terms of animal welfare had coverage and well-considered input from the animal protection community.

We also were pleased that our poster was accepted for the conference’s poster session. Our poster introduced the Model Animal Welfare Act, which we presented as a way to assist in the actual country-by-country implementation of the OIE animal welfare standards. You can read our poster here, and browse the other posters and abstracts (and slides from presenters!) here. The poster garnered a lot of attention and positive remarks.

Wim holding bookThanks to generous funding from the International Fund for Animal WelfareWorld Wide Animal Rescue, the Pettus Crowe Foundation and the Pegasus Foundation, we were excited to have the first copies of the new Model Animal Welfare Act book available for conference attendees, and had given away over 200 copies by the second day of the conference alone. We were happy to have constructive conversations with OIE Animal Welfare Focal Points, NGOs, and other governmental representatives from around the world, and gave copies to influencers in Zimbabwe, Mexico, Iran, Israel, Finland, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Singapore and Spain, to name just a few. Many of these individuals were especially interested in the Model Act because their countries are considering introducing animal welfare legislation (or in the case of Nicaragua, regulation), and believed the Model Act would be an irreplaceable resource for them. Even more exciting was to hear that Guatemala is in the final stages of approving a new animal welfare law, and that the Model Act was hugely helpful to them in writing the law!

Most OIE Delegates and Animal Welfare Focal Points are veterinarians and animal welfare science experts who are highly skilled when it comes to scientific aspects of their work. However, policy and legislation can be an unfamiliar field for many. This is why the Model Animal Welfare Act is a key resource—it ensures that these representatives have the tools they need to guide the policy and legislation necessary to ensure the implementation of OIE animal welfare standards (and good animal welfare policies more generally).

Attending the conference in Guadalajara was key in getting the Model Act into the hands of many of these individuals. However, there is still much work to do, and we need to make sure that ALL of the OIE Animal Welfare Focal Points and Delegates receive a copy of the Model Act, and international shipping is a pricey endeavor. Therefore, through sales of the Model Act we will be able to send the book to as many key individuals at the OIE as possible. If you are interested in receiving a Model Animal Welfare Act book, you can make payment through PayPal here, or send an email to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Lastly, if you are interested to hear more about the technical and policy outcomes of the conference, please sign up to the right to receive our posts in your inbox! We are preparing a more detailed post regarding the outcomes and opportunities afforded by the conference, and will be posting this soon. Until then, thanks for your continued support and for being a voice for animals.

Top: Janice Cox speaks with representatives from Israel and Spain in front of WAN's poster.
Bottom: Wim announces the Model Animal Welfare Act book to conference attendees.

Photo credits: OIE. To view all the photos from the conference, visit the OIE's Flickr page.

Jessica Bridgers

Jessica is the Executive Director at World Animal Net. Having received a B.S. in biology with minors in chemistry and anthropology from the University of New Mexico, she combines a scientific background with a passion for animal protection. She completed her M.S. in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University and internships with Humane Society International, Animal Protection of New Mexico, and the New England Anti-Vivisection Society before arriving at World Animal Net. In her free time, she volunteers with horse and wildlife rescues. 


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