OIE Report

President of the Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission, Alex Thiermann introduced reports from the two working groups; Animal production & food safety and Animal welfare.

The OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission (Code commission) met in February 2015 and during this meeting they also met with the OIE Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases (SCAD) to discuss areas of mutual interest. The end result of the deliberations was a draft Terrestrial Code produced for discussion and adoption at the World Assembly.

With regard to WRO members, the draft contained several topics of interest, but as expected (for this World Assembly in particular) the subject of BSE took centre stage.

As the result of SCAD deliberations and debate with the Code Commission, OIE has recognized ‘atypical’ (spontaneous) BSE as being different to ‘classical’ BSE.

Furthermore , both Commissions recognized that a ‘negligible risk’ Country declaring a case of atypical BSE  could be ‘penalised” to the same level as having a case of classic BSE.  As a result the draft BSE Chapter (11.4) was would amended to take account of atypical BSE and to differentiate it from classical BSE. However, while the vast majority of delegates accepted the proposal for separating the two types of BSE, it was not possible to reach agreement on the proposed new text. Most felt that the position was not so urgent as to disrupt the normal cycle of consultations and meetings of the Commission (September 2015 and February 2016) prior to adoption at the 2016 World Assembly. Delegates also pointed out that there were parts of the “toolbox” missing, ie no clear case study examples to differentiate the two forms, and therefore a need to revise the “manual” too and altogether the feeling was of unnecessary haste!  It was also mentioned by (mainly) EU delegates that the subject of atypical/classical BSE could be incorporated into a more extensive revision of Chapter 11.4 that includes revisons of aspects of the “SRM” list and the “feed ban”. In that sense, the majority felt that taking time now to incorporate all currently considered changes was in reality the best option. Therefore and after lengthy discussions and interventions from many OIE delegates, a compromise was reached to revise the current BSE chapter with the addition of a few words that recognized atypical BSE without having to enter into a significant level of detail.

Elsewhere, the OIE World Assembly voted on the following resolution which confirmed that France, Ireland, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Liechtenstien and Switzerland are now included in the list of  “negligible risk” countries. This list now comprises 41 countries and there are 11 Countries still categorized as “controlled risk” countries.