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Bernard Vallat at the USAHA Plenary Sesssion in San Diego

San Diego, California, October 2003 - In his presentation at the Joint Plenary Session of the 'United States Animal Health Association' (USAHA) and the 'American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians' (AAVLD) held in San Diego on 13 October 2003, the Director General mentioned several key points of the new policy of the OIE. He highlighted the recognition by society of the strong contribution of the veterinary profession, the surveillance of animal diseases and zoonoses, the support to developing countries to eradicate animal diseases, the issue of compartmentalization and regionalization, and the link between pathogens and world trade.

"The surveillance of natural or artificially provoked sanitary events," he said, "is critical to the success of OIE missions". In fact, the OIE gathers information on disease occurrences from both official reports by national Veterinary Services and unofficial information that must be verified.

Dr Vallat also stressed the importance of the OIE missions, particularly the strengthening of national Veterinary Services and technical assistance to developing countries. With regard to regionalization, he indicated that, traditionally, geographic considerations are applied by isolating an infected area within a Member Country. Compartmentalization is a new concept being developed, which is based on the epidemiological consideration of livestock or on integrated production systems.

"OIE standards are the key tools to facilitate safe and fair international trade. The golden rule", he added, "is to treat others as you would have them treat you. OIE standards should be regarded as a menu in its entirety and not as 'à la carte' items".

Dr Vallat also underlined the OIE action in developing animal welfare standards. In this respect, the first areas to be addressed will be transportation of animals, humane slaughter and depopulation for disease control. The first 'Global Conference on Animal Welfare' will take place at the OIE Headquarters in Paris, from 23 to 25 February 2004.

In conclusion, he proposed that the items raised during his presentation in San Diego could form part of an OIE seminar within the framework of the World Veterinary Congress in Minneapolis in 2005.