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OIE Countries Agree to Welfare Guidelines for Livestock

Countries in the World Organization for Animal Health agreed on general welfare guidelines for livestock production and a text on conditions for cattle raised for meat, the intergovernmental organization said.

Texts adopted at an annual meeting in Paris include criteria and indicators to measure the welfare of beef cattle, additional lighting for cattle that don’t have access to daylight and other factors of cattle breeding, the group, known by its French acronym OIE, wrote in an e-mailed statement today.

The world has about 1.02 billion cattle that will produce 280 million calves this year, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. The OIE is responsible for improving animal health worldwide and had 178 member countries in 2011, according to the group’s website.

“In 2011, the delegates of the OIE did not reach consensus on a text on animal welfare of broiler chickens and this year’s consensus on livestock is a huge step forward,” OIE Director-General Bernard Vallat was cited as saying in the statement. “This is an historical event that opens the way to the adoption of animal-welfare standards in other farm-animal production.”

OIE delegates also agreed on new texts on responsible and prudent use of antibiotics in animals for consumption, the organization said.

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