Each Member Country undertakes to report the animal diseases that it detects on its territory. The OIE then disseminates the information to other countries, which can take the necessary preventive action. This information also includes diseases transmissible to humans and intentional introduction of pathogens. Information is sent out immediately or periodically depending on the seriousness of the disease. This objective applies to disease occurences both naturally occuring and deliberately caused. Dissemination is via e-mail, Disease Information and the World Animal Health Information Database (WAHID) Interface.
The OIE collects and analyses the latest scientific information on animal disease control. This information is then made available to the Member Countries to help them to improve the methods used to control and eradicate these diseases. Guidelines are prepared by the network of 311 OIE Collaborating Centres and Reference Laboratories across the world.
Scientific information is also disseminated through various works and periodicals published by the OIE, notably the Scientific and Technical Review (3 issues a year).
The OIE provides technical support to Member Countries requesting assistance with animal disease control and eradication operations, including diseases transmissible to humans. The OIE notably offers expertise to the poorest countries to help them control animal diseases that cause livestock losses, present a risk to public health and threaten other Member Countries.
The OIE has a permanent contact to international regional and national financial organizations in order to convince them to invest more and better on the control of animal diseases and zoonosis.
The OIE develops normative documents relating to rules that Member Countries can use to protect themselves from the introduction of diseases and pathogens, without setting up unjustified sanitary barriers. The main normative works produced by the OIE are: the Terrestrial Animal Health Code, the Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals, the Aquatic Animal Health Code and the Manual of Diagnostic Tests for Aquatic Animals.
OIE standards are recognised by the World Trade Organization as reference international sanitary rules. They are prepared by elected Specialist Commissions and by Working Groups bringing together internationally renowned scientists, most of whom are experts within the network of about 310 Collaborating Centres and Reference Laboratories that also contribute towards the scientific objectives of the OIE. These standards are adopted by the World Assembly of Delegates.
The Veterinary Services and laboratories of developing and transition countries are in urgent need of support to provide them with the necessary infrastructure, resources and capacities that will enable their countries to benefit more fully from the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement (SPS Agreement) while at the same time providing greater protection for animal health and public health and reducing the threat for other countries which are free of diseases.
The OIE considers the Veterinary Services as a Global Public Good and their bringing into line with international standards (structure, organisation, resources, capacities, role of paraprofessionals) as a public investment priority.
The OIE Member Countries have decided to provide a better guarantee of the safety of food of animal origin by creating greater synergy between the activities of the OIE and those of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The OIE's standard-setting activities in this field focus on eliminating potential hazards existing prior to the slaughter of animals or the primary processing of their products (meat, milk, eggs, etc.) that could be a source of risk for consumers.
Since it was created, the OIE has played a key role in its capacity as the sole international reference organisation for animal health, enjoying established international recognition and benefiting from direct collaboration with the Veterinary Services of all its Member Countries. As a mark of the close relationship between animal health and animal welfare, the OIE has become, at the request of its Member Countries, the leading international organisation for animal welfare