In the current trend of globalisation, animal health measures have increasing importance to facilitate safe international trade of animals and animal products while avoiding unnecessary impediments to trade. In light of this, the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) encourages the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to base their sanitary measures on international standards, guidelines and recommendations, where they exist.

The OIE is the WTO reference organisation for standards relating to animal health and zoonoses. The OIE publishes 2 codes (Terrestrial and Aquatic) and 2 manuals (Terrestrial and Aquatic) as the principle reference for WTO members.

The Terrestrial Animal Health Code and Aquatic Animal Health Code respectively aim to assure the sanitary safety of international trade in terrestrial animals and aquatic animals, and their products.

The Terrestrial Animal Health Code was first published in 1968 and  the Aquatic Animal Health Code was introduced to the public in 1995. The codes  traditionally addressed animal health and zoonoses, but they have, in recent years, expanded to cover animal welfare, animal production food safety, consistent with the expanded mandate of the OIE which is ‘to improve animal health worldwide’.

The Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals and the Manual of Diagnostic Tests for Aquatic Animals provide a harmonised approach to disease diagnosis by describing internationally agreed laboratory diagnostic techniques. These manuals were published in 1989 and in 1995, respectively.

The OIE regularly updates its  international standards as new scientific information comes to light, following its established transparent and democratic procedures. The only pathway for adoption of a standard is via approval of the World Assembly of  Delegates meeting in May each year at the OIE General Assembly.

What are OIE International Standards?

OIE International Standards: Protecting animals, preserving our future

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    Codes and Manuals

    The OIE Terrestrial and Aquatic Animal Health Codes provide standards for the improvement of animal health and welfare and veterinary public health worldwide, including through standards for safe international trade in terrestrial and aquatic animals and their products. The manuals provide a standardised approach to the diagnosis of the diseases listed in the Terrestrial and Aquatic Codes.
  • Standards Setting Process

    Specialist Commissions The role of the OIE’s Specialist Commissions is to use current scientific information to study problems of epidemiology and the prevention and control of animal diseases, to develop and revise OIE’s international standards…
  • Observatory

    For a better understanding of the implementation of OIE International Standards. The OIE develops International Standards for animal health and welfare based on the latest scientific information. While their development is a central mission of…

OIE International Standards: How are they developed?

OIE International Standards: The key to better animal health and welfare

OIE International Standards: The key to better aquatic animal health and welfare