​Media Release

Australia assumes Vice-Presidency of World Organisation for Animal Health

10 June 2015

Australia’s expertise in international animal health issues and standard-setting has been recognised with the election of Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mark Schipp, as Vice President of the World Assembly of the Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said Australia would be in a unique position to contribute to and influence the work of the OIE, with a number of other Australians also elected to key positions on the four Specialist Commissions of the OIE.

“Australia is a world-leader in animal health and disease control issues, and I am pleased to see this being recognised in this important international forum,” Minister Joyce said.

“Department of Agriculture expert Dr Ingo Ernst has been elected as President of the Aquatics Commission. Dr Jef Hammond of the NSW Department of Primary Industries was also elected as Vice President of the Scientific Commission, Dr Peter Thornber (formerly of the Department of Agriculture) was reappointed as a member of the Animal Welfare Working Group, and Dr Peter Daniels (formerly of the Australian Animal Health Laboratory) was re-elected as a member of the Biologicals Commission.

“The OIE sets health standards for international trade in animals and animal products through its expertise in animal health and disease control issues.

“Through our new roles in the OIE, I am pleased that Australia will have the opportunity to make an even more significant contribution to a range of important animal health and trade issues that affect our producers.

“Our involvement in the OIE helps us ensure we have science-based standards that achieve their purpose without imposing an unnecessary burden on Australian producers, while also protecting producers and consumers from biosecurity threats posed by lax standards.

“Australia also contributes to the development of OIE standards to ensure there is minimal impact on trade in the event of an emergency disease outbreak, allowing producers to regain markets as quickly as possible.

“As the OIE’s focus expands into standard-setting for broader areas such as antimicrobial resistance, having a strong voice in this forum will be an asset to our producers.

“For example, as anti-microbial resistance gathers importance globally, Australia has advocated for the development of OIE standards that will highlight our judicious use of antimicrobials compared with other countries, which may provide a competitive advantage for Australian producers.

“I congratulate Dr Schipp, Dr Ernst, Dr Daniels, Dr Thornber and Dr Hammond on their appointments, and wish them all the best in their new roles.”

For more information on the OIE, visit oie.int​. For more information on the role of Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer, visit agriculture.gov.au/animal/health.