New collaborating centre to focus on animal welfare

12 June 2007

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) congratulates Massey University’s Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre on being recognised as a Collaborating Centre of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

This is the only OIE Collaborating Centre dedicated entirely to animal welfare science and related bioethical analysis and the first such centre recognised in New Zealand.

Massey University’s bid to establish a Collaborating Centre was supported by MAF. The Centre will work with the OIE in the development of international guidelines and standards on animal welfare and will provide further opportunity for collaboration with similar organisations within New Zealand and elsewhere.

MAF Biosecurity Director of Animal Welfare, David Bayvel, said that the Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre at Massey University is a key component of New Zealand’s animal welfare infrastructure.

“Co-directors Professors David Mellor and Kevin Stafford head a centre that builds on 50 years of scientific, veterinary and practical research in New Zealand and it is fitting that its international standing has been recognised and strengthened by its establishment as a Collaborating Centre for the OIE,” said Dr Bayvel.

“It is recognition of the respect held for New Zealand expertise in this area and reinforces New Zealand’s reputation as a significant contributor to global animal welfare developments.”

“New Zealand is a world leader in the development of animal welfare standards and its expertise in this area is highly regarded internationally,” said Dr Bayvel.

Biosecurity New Zealand’s Assistant Director-General, Dr Barry O’Neil is the President of the OIE and David Bayvel is the Chair of the OIE’s Permanent Animal Welfare Working Group. David Mellor was made an Officer in the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday honours in recognition of services to education, including his expertise in animal welfare science and bioethics research and teaching.

The Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre was approved at the 75th General Session of the OIE, where members voted to approve four new Collaborating Centres. This is the first OIE Collaborating Centre in Asia/Oceania to focus on animal welfare science, and its establishment will aid collaboration and the promotion of animal welfare in this region.

The only other animal welfare Collaborating Centre is located in Teramo, Italy. It is anticipated that a small international network of similar centres will be established and a recent OIE questionnaire provided strong support for such a development.

The primary role of the Massey centre will be the provision of expert scientific, bioethical and educational advice for the OIE. Other roles will include the provision of scientific and technical training, the organisation of appropriate scientific meetings, and the coordination of scientific and technical studies in collaboration with other organisations.

The OIE has a strategic animal welfare plan under which OIE animal welfare standards have been issued for transport by land and sea, slaughter for human consumption and emergency slaughter. Further standards will be developed in the future.

Issued by:

Helen Keyes, Senior Communications Adviser
Phone: 0-4-894 0161 or 029-894 0161
Email: helen.keyes@maf.govt.nz

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