Welfare problems in the context of recent outbreaks of highly-pathogenic
in Asia have been of great concern for a large number of European citizens.
Community legislation provides rules to guarantee that farm animals are reared and slaughtered without unnecessary suffering. However, these measures only apply on EU territory. To require application of these requirements in the territories of third countries would amount to an extraterritorial application of legislation which is not consistent with public international law.
However for countries in a process of accession to the EU, the Commission has established a programme with those countries in order to ensure that they will progressively implement all applicable EU rules (the acquis communautaire). The Commission will be particularly vigilant, during the accession process, in order to ensure that all EU animal welfare rules including the ones related to killing will be properly transposed and implemented in a timely manner.
In the meantime, the Commission is studying the possibility of specific collaboration actions with regard to the killing of poultry for disease control purposes together with the accession countries affected by avian influenza. However, it should be born in mind that material assistance and training required for this collaboration would also need the contribution from the EU Member States or other European countries.
Furthermore the Commission is continuously active in promoting acceptance of animal welfare standards at international level.
In this context the Commission actively supports the initiative of the OIE to develop guidelines and standards for animal welfare. One of the priorities in this regard is the protection of animals in the case of killing for disease control. The recent events in Asia particularly highlight the importance and urgency of this work.
The OIE's Global Conference on Animal Welfare, which took place from 23-25 February 2004 in Paris, also provided an unprecedented opportunity for governments, scientists and other stakeholders from around the world to discuss this issue. As an international organisation with 167 Member Countries and armed with its specific animal welfare mandate endorsed by these countries, the OIE is best placed to provide a forum for international discussion on this issue and to develop specific guidelines and standards for global application. The Commission is fully committed to supporting and following up on the OIE's advances in this field.
The OIE adopted at the May 2005 OIE General Session the first set of
on the killing of animals for disease control purposes.
Avian influenza: controlling the disease at its animal source does not justify inhumane killing methods on farms
The OIE stresses 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 the international community to the necessity to use appropriate methods when killing infected and in contact birds. Further information on this issue is also available via a dedicated page on the
OIE Press Release:
Avian influenza: controlling the disease at its animal source does not justify inhumane killing methods on farm