Conference of the OIE Regional Commission for the Americas

Florianopolis ( Brazil ), 28 November- 2 December 2006

The 18 th Conference of the Regional Commission for the Americas of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) was held in Florianopolis ( Brazil ) from 28 November to 2 December 2006 .

The Conference was chaired by Dr Jamil Gomes de Souza, the OIE Delegate for Brazil and President of the OIE Regional Commission for the Americas . His Excellency Luis Carlos Guedes Pintos, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply of Brazil, Mr Eduardo Pinho Moreira Governor of Santa Catarina State, Brazil, the President of the OIE International Committee, Dr Barry O’Neil, the Director General of the OIE , Dr Bernard Vallat, Delegates of OIE Member Countries, representatives of international and regional organisations and observers attended the Conference.

In his speech, the Minister of Agriculture of Brazil, commended the role of the OIE in the international control of animal diseases and zoonoses. He laid particular emphasis on the development of trade standards by the OIE without which export of livestock and livestock products from countries such as Brazil would have been more difficult. Regarding the importance of animal disease control, he said «  We practice animal health 24 hours a day and we work ceaselessly to comply with OIE standards on international trade in animals and animal products” 

Two technical items were discussed during the Conference:

  • Compensation mechanisms for farmers;
  • Animal welfare in the Americas .

Compensation mechanisms are of particular significance to the Americas where stamping out procedures involving infected and in contact animals as well as those in surrounding areas are strongly recommended as an integral component of the control of animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease and avian influenza. In this respect, Dr Vallat stressed that “ There cannot be any effective disease control and eradication without a stamping out policy when animals become infected. And this policy can only be effective if accompanied by an appropriate compensation mechanism solidly backed by Government.”

The Conference also noted that s ocial and animal production conditions vary significantly in the region and that it was imperative that welfare considerations be harmonised and legislated while research on basic welfare aspects such as production, transport and slaughter conditions continues.

Recalling the significant potential impact of emerging and re-emerging diseases on public health and rural and national economies, Dr Vallat remarked: “ Veterinary Services are now recognised as a global public good. They provide the first line of defence against animal diseases particularly those transmissible to humans. Strengthening of Veterinary Services using the Performance, Vision and Strategy (PVS) tool must, therefore, be considered a priority for public investments worldwide ”.

The Member Countries of the Regional commission for the Americas unanimously endorsed the establishment of two new OIE Collaborating Centres. The first was for Wildlife Diseases to be based in Canada and the second was for Veterinary Training to be located in the United States of America .

The OIE Regional Commission expressed its gratitude to the support provided by the OIE to Member Countries of the Region and strongly supported the actions being undertaken by the OIE to promote the control of animal diseases and zoonoses world-wide and in the region. Particular appreciation was expressed for the OIE expert mission to advise countries in the Southern Cone of America on control measures against foot and mouth disease and the International Conference on OIE Reference Laboratories and Collaborating Centres to be held in Florianopolis soon after the OIE Regional Conference

Dr Bernard Vallat, OIE Director General, warmly thanked the Government of Brazil for kindly hosting and supporting the Regional Conference and the Conference on OIE Reference Laboratories and Collaborating Centres.

All recommendations adopted by the conference will be submitted for consideration and adoption during the next OIE General Assembly, in May 2007.