Bird Flu-"Controlling the disease at its animal source-

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Bird Flu-"Controlling the disease at its animal source-

Postby vet » Mon Oct 31, 2005 10:26 pm

"Controlling the disease at its animal source does not authorize inappropriate animal depopulation methods on farm"
The OIE emphasizes the need for veterinary services worldwide to address urgently outbreaks of avian influenza in poultry. However, as the international reference organisation for animal welfare, the OIE is committed to alerting about the necessity to use appropriate methods to kill infected and in contact birds. This action is carried out to protect other birds worldwide from the infection of the avian influenza virus. The OIE considers animal health as an essential factor of animal welfare.

Concern is being expressed not only by animal welfare organizations worldwide, but also by the media and the general public that in many cases killing methods are not being carried out in an appropriate manner.

The OIE reminds that early detection and rapid response mechanisms are crucial to the successful control of the disease and help minimizing the number of animals to be killed to stop the spread of the virus. Specific guidelines have been adopted by all 167 OIE Member Countries with regard to appropriate methods for the killing of animals (including birds) for disease control purposes.

In particular, these guidelines recommend that:

- When animals are killed for disease control purposes, methods used should result in immediate death or immediate loss of consciousness lasting until death; when loss of consciousness is not immediate, induction of unconsciousness should not cause anxiety, pain, distress or suffering in the animals.

- There should be continuous monitoring of the procedures to ensure they are consistently effective with regard to animal welfare, operator safety and biosecurity.

- The operational activities should be led by an official veterinarian who has the authority to appoint the personnel in the specialist teams and ensure that they adhere to the required animal welfare and biosecurity standards. When appointing the personnel, he/she should ensure that the personnel involved has the required competencies.

- A specialist team, led by a team leader answerable to the official veterinarian, should be deployed to work on each affected premises. The team should consist of personnel with the competencies to conduct all required operations; in some situations, personnel may be required to fulfil more than one function. Each team should contain a veterinarian.

The complete guidelines on the appropriate methods for the killing of animals for disease control purposes. are available online in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code at ... _3.7.6.htm.

The respect of the standards contained in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code on the surveillance of avian influenza in animals in the field and the respect of the measures guaranteeing the safety of international trade in poultry and poultry products represent the cornerstone in the global fight against avian influenza and a crucial element for avoiding the spread of the disease in animals as well as a potential human pandemic.
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