1 OIE Regional Conference on Animal Welfare and International Trade Montevideo, Uruguay,17-18 October 2013 BOOK OF ABSTRACTS
3 3 page OBJECTIVE OF THE CONFERENCE 5 ORGANISATION OF THE CONFERENCE 6 GENERAL INFORMATION 7 PROGRAMME 9 CONTENTS ORAL PRESENTATIONS 11 OIE Regional Conference on the Animal Welfare and International Trade Montevideo, Uruguay,17-18 October 2013
5 5 OBJECTIVE OF THE CONFERENCE The OIE International Conference on Animal Welfare and Trade in the Americas aims to analyze the implementation of OIE standards in production, transport and slaughter, focusing on beef cattle, and taking into account the vision of the OIE, the Veterinary Services and the private sector partners. Also, Animal Welfare bilateral trade requisites shall be analyzed and discussed, inclu-ding technical specifications developed by the private sector, including ISO, Eurep-GAP, RSPCA (Freedom Food) and Global Animal Partnership among others, and their relationship with the OIE standards and national regulations of the Veterinary Services. The cost and benefit aspects in the implementation of Animal Welfare shall be also analyzed, covering the stages of production, transport and slaughter, including the point of view of traders and consumers. OBJECTIVE OIE Regional Conference on the Animal Welfare and International Trade Montevideo, Uruguay,17-18 October 2013
6 6 ORGANISATION OF THE CONFERENCE ORGANISATION OF THE CONFERENCE Steering Committee Dr. Derek Belton Dr. Carlos Correa Messuti Dr. Luis O. Barcos Dr. Daniel Chaisemartin Organising Committee Dr. Carlos Correa Messuti Dr. Francisco Munzio Dr. Jose Gallero Dr. Ricardo Sienra Mrs. Maia Stepanich Mrs. Beatriz Arce Dr. Luis O. Barcos Mr. Leandro Barcos Dr. Mariela Varas Dr. Daniel Chaisemartin Ms. Ingrid Arias OIE Regional Conference on the Animal Welfare and International Trade Montevideo, Uruguay,17-18 October 2013
7 7 GENERAL INFORMATION Presentations The abstracts for the presentations are included in the book of abstracts. Following the conference, the abstracts, PowerPoint presentations and final recommendations will be made available on the OIE regional website for the Americas. Venue The conference is held in the Sheraton Montevideo Hotel, Montevideo, Uruguay from 17 to 18 October Sheraton Montevideo Hotel Calle Victor Solino 349 Montevideo, Uruguay Tel: (598)(2) GENERAL INFORMATION Language Speakers will give their presentation in English or Spanish with simultaneous translation into the other language. OIE Regional Conference on the Animal Welfare and International Trade Montevideo, Uruguay,17-18 October 2013
9 9 THURSDAY 17 OCTOBER :00 09:00 Registration OPENING ADDRESSES 09:15 09:45 Welcome by Representative of the European Commission by the Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) by the Minister of Agriculture of Uruguay-Ing. Agronomo Tabare Aguerre PROGRAMME Session 1 09:45 10:15 10:15 10:45 10:45 11:15 11:15 11:45 11:45 12:15 12:15 12:35 12:35 13:00 13:00 14:30 Objectives and expectations for the conference OIE animal welfare standards and the legal framework for international trade resistance in veterinary practice? Tea/Coffee Break Evolution of animal welfare standards in the EU, with a particular focus on consumers Use of the OIE standards for negotiating bilateral trade agreements OIE Global Animal Welfare Conferences Recommendations and Regional Animal Welfare Strategy for the Americas General Discussion Lunch Bernard Vallat Sarah Kahn Andrea Gavinelli Leopoldo Stuardo Luis Barcos Session 2 14:30 16:30 16:30 17:00 Public panel discussion on practical implementation of OIE standards and their impact on trade: opportunities and challenges (panel introduced by Francisco Muzio, CVO of Uruguay) Tea/Coffee Break OIE Regional Conference on the Animal Welfare and International Trade Montevideo, Uruguay,17-18 October 2013
10 10 PROGRAMME 17:00 17:20 17:20 17:40 Work of industry organisations supporting the implementation of OIE animal welfare standards in the context of international trade Role of WSPA for the implementationof OIE animal welfare standardsand for an Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare Juan J. Griguera Naón Joe Anzuino 17:40 18:00 General Discussion 19:00 22:00 Coktail offered by MGAP Uruguay FRIDAY 18 OCTOBER 2013 Session 3 08:45 09:10 09:10 09:30 09:30 09:50 09:50 10:10 10:10 10:30 10:30 10:50 10:50 11:10 11:10 11:40 11:40 12:10 12:10 12:40 12:40 13:00 Animal welfare in aquaculture and trade opportunities and challenges of public and private sectors Costs and benefits of the implementation of OIE animal welfare standards Cost and benefits of using OIE animal welfare standards for the export of beef from South America Retailers and animal welfare ISO Technical Specification for animal welfare, based on the OIE standards Implementation of OIE standards in European countries: challenges and lessons Promotion of international trade through private standards that respect animal welfare Tea/Coffee Break General Discussion Conclusions and recommendations Closing ceremony Torunn Knævelsrud Stella Maris Huertas Marcelo Secco Arias David Harlan François Gary Karin Schwabenbauer Yves Rey Bernard Vallat OIE Regional Conference on the Animal Welfare and International Trade Montevideo, Uruguay,17-18 October 2013
11 11 ORAL PRESENTATIONS Session 1 Objectives and expectations for the conference OIE animal welfare standards and the legal framework for international trade resistance in veterinary practice? Evolution of animal welfare standards in the EU, with a particular focus on consumers Use of the OIE standards for negotiating bilateral trade agreements OIE Global Animal Welfare Conferences Recommendations and Regional Animal Welfare Strategy for the Americas Bernard Vallat Sarah Kahn Andrea Gavinelli Leopoldo Stuardo Luis Barcos pages ORAL PRESENTATIONS Session 2 Work of industry organisations supporting the implementation of OIE animal welfare standards in the context of international trade Juan J. Griguera Naón 17 Role of WSPA for the implementation of OIE animal welfare standards and for an Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare Joe Anzuino 18 Session 3 Animal welfare in aquaculture and trade opportunities and challenges of public and private sectors Torunn Knævelsrud 19 Costs and benefits of the implementation of OIE animal welfare standards Stella Maris Huertas 20 Cost and benefits of using OIE animal welfare standards for the export of beef from South America Marcelo Secco Arias 21 ISO Technical Specification for animal welfare, based on the OIE standards François Gary 22 Implementation of OIE standards in European countries: challenges and lessons Katharina Kluge 23 OIE Regional Conference on the Animal Welfare and International Trade Montevideo, Uruguay,17-18 October 2013
12 12 S1 OBJECTIVES AND EXPECTATIONS FOR THE CONFERENCE Bernard Vallat OIE Director General Animal welfare was first identified as a priority in the OIE Strategic Plan OIE Member Countries mandated the organisation to take the lead internationally on animal welfare and, as the international reference organisation for animal health, to elaborate recommendations and guidelines covering animal welfare practices, reaffirming that animal health is a key component of animal welfare. This OIE Regional Conference on Animal Welfare and International Trade in the Americas aims to review the progress made on implementation of OIE standards in production, transport and slaughter, focusing on beef cattle in this region, taking into account the vision of the OIE, the Veterinary Services and the private sector partners. Animal welfare remains a complex, multi-faceted public policy issue that includes important scientific, ethical, economic and political dimensions. Because of its growing importance to society, animal welfare must be addressed in a scientifically credible manner. It is essential to engage with stakeholders on the development and implementation of animal welfare standards, to ensure that cultural and religious sensibilities are taken into account, as well as economic issues and consumer expectations. As societal views on animal welfare evolve, so too will OIE standards and the animal welfare specifications for traded animal products including beef. In this conference we also aim to identify and discuss beef cattle animal welfare requirements that have already been introduced to various forms of trade agreements, including technical specifications under development by the private sector, such as ISO, and their relationship with the OIE standards and national regulations of the Veterinary Services. Through recognition and discussion of all of these issues, we aim to produce a conference recommendation that both summarises the current animal welfare issues associated with beef of hight quality traded from this region, and proposes our collective view on the actions needed to address and meet societal expectations for acceptable beef cattle animal welfare in the years ahead. OIE Regional Conference on the Animal Welfare and International Trade Montevideo, Uruguay,17-18 October 2013
13 13 OIE ANIMAL WELFARE STANDARDS AND THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADE S1 Sarah Kahn OIE consultant The OIE leadership and achievements in setting global animal welfare standards are well recognised and the organisation continues to pursue a productive work programme and proactive involvement in animal welfare. The approach to setting animal welfare standards that was established some ten years ago is proving to be robust and effective. The OIE Guiding principles on animal welfare, adopted in 2004, are still highly relevant and were extended in 2013 with the adoption of an article on key considerations when developing standards for livestock production systems, a current priority of the OIE. In the past decade the OIE has adopted 12 chapters on animal welfare, including 9 chapters in the Terrestrial Animal Health Code and 3 chapters on the welfare of farmed fish in the Aquatic Animal Health Code. In addition the Codes contain many other provisions that are directly relevant to animal welfare, including, for terrestrial animals, recommendations on the quality of Veterinary Services and veterinary legislation, and guidance on measures for the prevention, control and eradication of animal diseases. The OIE continues to highlight the importance of animal health to animal welfare. In the context of this paper, the legal framework for international trade comprises the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and two World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements: the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) and the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement). Members of the WTO should apply the provisions in these Agreements when imposing technical measures on international trade in animals and animal products. The OIE Codes contain specific recommendations on how OIE Member countries can meet their obligations under the SPS Agreement by harmonising their sanitary measures with the OIE standards on animal diseases and zoonoses. The welfare of food producing animals and relevant standards are increasingly relevant to international trade. However, there is ongoing discussion about the coverage of animal welfare by the GATT and WTO agreements and to date little definitive guidance available. Consumer concerns in some countries and the efforts of food companies to offer assurances (and distinguish their products from those of competitors) have led to private animal welfare specifications becoming an important driver for government and industry attention to the welfare of food producing animals National governments are increasingly willing to include animal welfare in bilateral trade agreements, to help address consumer concerns and to provide a more level playing field for livestock production sectors. Through its democratically adopted standards and promotion of public - private partnerships, the OIE facilitates safe trade and the avoidance of unjustified trade barriers. In addition, the OIE standards on animal welfare are a benchmark in the negotiation of bilateral agreements. The OIE continues to discuss with private sector organisations possible approaches to avoid contradictions between OIE standards and private specifications. The current work of the International Organization for Standardisation in the development of animal welfare specifications that are based on OIE standards is an example of this collaborative approach. This paper discusses the OIE standards, guidelines and recommendations on animal welfare in the context of the legal framework for international trade.
14 14 S1 EVOLUTION OF ANIMAL WELFARE STANDARDS IN THE EUROPEAN UNION, WITH A PARTICULAR FOCUS ON CONSUMERS Andrea Gavinelli European Commission Since the first social analysis carried out by the EU Commission in on the attitudes of EU citizens towards animal welfare it was clear that the way animals are reared, transported and killed matters to EU consumers. Recent research carried out in 2013 and commissioned by a number of animal welfare NGOs 2 reports that 83% of UK consumers or 92% of French wished to have a method of production labelling which identifies the farm system used to produce food. There is also the expectation that animal welfare standards are respected in the case of products imported into the EU. Today EU legislation has only one mandatory system of labelling 3 that signifies the type of farming. It is a code printed on the shell of fresh eggs and it became an important tool to achieve the proper application of the legislation on the welfare of laying hens when the use of un-enriched cages was prohibited on 1 January, The label helped producers in compliance with the legislation avoid unfair competition in the market and contributed to the promotion and rapid implementation of animal welfare standards. No other mandatory labelling systems are currently under study by the Commission to specify the type of farming/methods of production, and the reasons are highlighted in a specific Commission report of In line with the experiences of many countries implementing OIE animal welfare standards and the current EU strategy for animal welfare 5, the European approach to animal welfare policies has changed from the simple adoption of standards in legislation to a more complex policy making scenario. The involvement of stakeholders in the development of codes of good practice to improve animal welfare is now a major activity. The EU invested more than any other part of the world in the science of animal welfare with important progress such as the development of animal welfare indicators. The sharing of scientific and technical information with operators and market actors on animal welfare has demonstrably contributed to raising animal welfare standards. 1 Attitudes of Consumers towards the welfare of farmed animals Published June euro_barometer25_en.pdf 2 Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions : Options for animal welfare labelling and the establishment of a European Network of Reference Centres for the protection and welfare of animals 3 Commission Regulation (EC) No 589/2008 of 23 June 2008 laying down detailed rules for implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 as regards marketing standards for eggs EU Animal Welfare Strategy
15 15 USE OF OIE STANDARDS FOR NEGOTIATION BILATERAL AGREEMENTS S1 Leopoldo Stuardo 1 & Carolina Maciel 2 1 Animal Welfare Unit, Livestock Protection Division, Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG), Ministry of Agriculture from Chile. 2 Environmental Policy and Law & Governance Research Groups at Wageningen University, The Netherlands. As the debate on the welfare of farm animal increases worldwide, a number of social, political and economic concerns arise. Among these concerns is the potential of animal welfare requirements becoming a barrier to international trade. To date there is no consensus on how to address animal welfare measures within the multilateral trading system of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Nonetheless, the advancement of animal welfare measures within trade negotiations and agreements between importing and exporting countries of livestock products continues. Over the last decade, alternative instruments to the multilateral trading system have been taken up by governments willing to tackle the challenge of addressing animal welfare measures in the context of international trade. One example is the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement 1 (SPS) between the European Union (EU) and the Republic of Chile which establishes the obligations for the harmonization of legislation and cooperation in the area of animal welfare, taking as its reference the developments of the international animal welfare standards of OIE. This SPS Agreement, which is embodied as the Annex IV in the Association Agreement between the European Community and its Member States and the Republic of Chile, was signed on November 18th Drawing upon the experience of the SPS Agreement between Chile and the EU, this article aims to contribute to the discussion of animal welfare and international trade by explaining the role of OIE standards in the negotiation and implementation of SPS agreements. The case of EU-Chile clearly shows how a trade agreement can significantly support governmental policy development. Nowadays, Chile has an extensive regulatory framework covering animal welfare through production, transport and slaughter for human consumption. Moreover, in the framework of the Working Group on Animal Welfare of the EU Chile Agreement an equivalence case is under development for animal welfare at killing 2. In this EU Chile example, it is important to note that much of the success of this cooperation derives from OIE s active role in the development of international standards. Having OIE standards as a benchmark has enabled the two parties to reach a common understanding on the science of animal welfare, which in its turn has enhanced our cooperation in research, training and support for the development of policies on animal welfare. 1 UE Chile Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Applicable to Trade in Animals and Animal Products, Plants, Plant Products and Other Goods and Animal Welfare 2 Council Regulation (EC) N 1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing
16 16 S1 RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE OIE GLOBAL CONFERENCES ON ANIMAL WELFARE AND THE REGIONAL ANIMAL WELFARE STRATEGY FOR THE AMERICAS Luis O. Barcos OIE Regional Representative for the Americas Since the earliest development of OIE animal welfare standards, the countries of the Americas have been determined to play an active role in setting such standards to ensure that they take into account the region s distinctive production, cultural and economic characteristics. The Second OIE Global Conference on Animal Welfare: putting the OIE standards to work was held in Cairo (Egypt) on October The most important outcome of the conference was to identify the needs and key tools to help build OIE Members capacity to implement OIE standards. The Third OIE Global Conference on Animal Welfare was held in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) on 6 8 November The recommendations supported the implementation of OIE animal welfare standards, including at regional level, with special emphasis on animal welfare strategies and tools for Veterinary Service capacity building to facilitate implementation of OIE standards, and national and regional coordination of all sectors involved in the supply chain. They also emphasised the importance of basing private-sector animal welfare specifications on OIE standards and ensuring that they do not conflict with these standards. Under the coordination of the OIE Regional Representation for the Americas, was created the OIE Inter-American Committee on Animal Welfare, comprising representatives from various public and private sectors, as well as international organisations. The work of the Inter-American Committee on Animal Welfare led to the development and proposal of a Regional Animal Welfare Strategy for the Americas, which was adopted unanimously at the OIE Regional Conference for the Americas in Barbados in The strategy provides a framework for achieving animal welfare outcomes based on scientific evidence and knowledge. It recognises the fundamental importance of education, training and research and includes the following goals: 1. To ensure the implementation of OIE animal welfare standards through a coordinated regional approach. 2. To promote and disseminate the concept of animal welfare in the region through effective coordination, communication, education and capacity-building. 3. To achieve sustainable improvements in animal welfare based on the development of regional and international research. 4. To develop sustainable mechanisms for the coordination and promotion of animal welfare programmes in accordance with regional priorities. 5. To establish partnerships with the various stakeholders to facilitate the implementation of OIE standards.
17 17 WORK OF INDUSTRY ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF OIE ANIMAL WELFARE STANDARDS IN THE CONTEXT OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE S2 Juan José Grigera Naón & Jacques Servière International Meat Secretariat (IMS) Animal welfare is a complex subject. Science and ethics both play a part. Science provides the body of evidence that is used to evaluate animal behaviour, well being and, at a final stage body condition. Ethics provides the basis for a standard insuring that it is morally acceptable to use animals for human consumption provided that they are protected from unnecessary suffering. OIE has succeeded in developing international standards, based on sound scientific research, for animal welfare worldwide that should serve as the reference point when developing international trade rules. IMS supports the guiding principles behind those standards including that: 1. there is a critical relationship between animal health and animal welfare; 2. the internationally recognized five freedoms provide invaluable guidance in animal welfare; 3. improvements in animal welfare usually lead to improved productivity and food safety resulting in economic benefit; 4. equivalent outcomes rather than identical systems should be the basis for comparison of animal welfare standards and guidelines; 5. that animal welfare issues do not become an unjustified barrier to trade. Local examples from IMS member organizations are given where adherence to OIE principles have resulted in successful operations within the meat value chain.
18 18 S2 WSPA ROLE IN SUPPORTING IMPLEMENTATION OF OIE STANDARDS AND THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ON ANIMAL WELFARE (UDAW) Joe Anzuino World Society for the Protection of Animals The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) supports the implementation of OIE animal welfare standards as one of its priority strategic objectives. In this presentation practical examples of how support is provided are reviewed. Areas covered include training in animal welfare and humane slaughter, rabies vaccination and stray dog population control and disaster management. Support for the OIE welfare standards aims to be evidence-based, result-centred and collaborative with other organisations. WSPA uses an extensive multi-disciplinary and participatory approach in order to engage stakeholders. The veterinary profession plays a core, and increasingly important, role. WSPA plans to increase its support via formal agreements with international, regional and national veterinary associations to complement its existing relationship with the OIE. Key areas for further development are outlined. The Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) has been endorsed by many countries and organisations. The WSPA campaign aims for it to be adopted and endorsed by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. The UDAW is a non-binding set of principles that acknowledges the importance of the sentience of animals and human responsibilities towards them. It specifically recognises the OIE role in setting global standards for animal welfare. The principles are designed to encourage and enable governments to introduce and improve animal protection legislation, policy initiatives and practices. Current progress and future development for the UDAW campaign will be explained. WSPA has integrated its support for the OIE welfare standards and the UDAW with other campaigns and as part of other global concerns such as human health and the environment, so broadening the relevance of animal welfare to a world audience. The cross-cutting benefits of WSPA s strategic support are, therefore, made explicit as part of achieving WSPA s vision of a world where animal welfare matters and cruelty has ended.
19 19 ANIMAL WELFARE IN AQUACULTURE AND TRADE OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTORS S3 Torunn Knaevelsrud Norwegian Food Safety Authority From the 1970s Norwegian aquaculture has developed into a multi-billion export industry. In 2012 a total of 300 million salmonids, mainly salmon, were stocked in sea water farms, with a maximum of 200,000 fish per cage. The production was 1.3 million tons, worth US$5 billion. The production cycle for farmed salmonids consists of several stages and represents a challenging interface between biology and technology: Broodstock in fresh water and sea water, hatcheries and nurseries in fresh water, on-growing farms in sea water, and transport and slaughter. All these steps present fish welfare challenges, including water quality, disease risk, smoltification, handling, vaccination, stunning and killing. In the 1980s and early 1990s bacterial diseases were the main challenges. The use of antibiotics peaked in 1987, but reduced dramatically within a few years as effective vaccines were developed. However, the prevention of disease is still a big issue. Pain in fish remains a subject of debate, even if scientific studies infer that fish do have an awareness of pain. In the European Union and Norway animal welfare legislation is based on the concept of animals as sentient beings, including fish. Norway has developed detailed regulations on the keeping, transport and killing of fish that effectively implement the OIE standards for the welfare of farmed fish. Welfare in fish does not yet attract a lot of interest from consumers or animal welfare groups. Criticism of the fish farming industry is focused on sustainability and negative effects on the environment by sea lice, escapee fish and the use of veterinary medicines. The average annual loss of farmed fish in sea water in Norway is approximately 20%. The reasons include disease, handling procedures and poor smolt quality. Great variations between farm mortality rates highlight this as a critical welfare and production indicator in aquaculture.
20 20 S3 COSTS AND BENEFITS OF IMPLEMENTING OIE ANIMAL WELFARE STANDARDS Stella. Maris. Huertas 1 ; Carmen Gallo Stegmaier 2 y Francisco Galindo-Maldonado Facultad de Veterinaria-Universidad de la Republica, Montevideo, Uruguay. 2. Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile. 3. Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia (FMVZ), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), México D.F. México. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) recognises that animal welfare is a complex, multifaceted issue with scientific, economic, religious, ethical, cultural and regional ramifications. Since 2001, successive OIE Strategic Plans have identified animal welfare as a priority and as a result OIE now has a significant animal welfare work programme including setting standards, promoting the establishment of Collaborating Centres and developing regional strategies to ensure animal health and welfare. Animals play a vital role in countries economic and social progress, with animal production the key to meeting soaring global demand for food. Poor animal welfare leads to losses throughout the value chain. In the Americas, the OIE Collaborating Centre for Animal Welfare and Livestock Production Systems, a multinational partnership between veterinary faculties in Chile, Uruguay and Mexico, aims to promote animal welfare as part of a sustainable livestock production approach, taking into account OIE standards and regional characteristics. It also conducts and coordinates scientific and technical studies on animal welfare, disseminates information and organises and participates in scientific meetings and other activities on behalf of the OIE. The Regional Animal Welfare Strategy for the Americas will promote the implementation of OIE standards as part of an integrated approach, recognising the importance of education, training and research in animal welfare. The Collaborating Centre promotes animal welfare as an opportunity for the sector, stressing that the development of sustainable, less environmentally polluting production systems and enhanced animal welfare will result in healthier, ethical products.
21 21 COSTS AND BENEFITS OF USING OIE ANIMAL WELFARE STANDARDS FOR MEAT EXPORTS FROM SOUTH AMERICA S3 Marcelo Secco Tacuarembo/Marfrig Group The meat industry in Uruguay, a net exporter, is engaged in the difficult and tortuous challenge of overcoming barriers to trade. The cost/benefit of implementing animal welfare standards must be analysed. Animal welfare has always existed and continues to be a multidisciplinary approach. Consumers are the backbone of the day-to-day beef business, and consumer trends, tastes and preferences are analysed with respect to the attributes of the meats processed in our industrial plants on an on-going basis. The main cost of implementing animal welfare standards is the human factor, i.e. the daily challenge involved in receiving, analysing and incorporating new information. This apparently simple process is extremely costly because it takes time to analyse and align our producers, service providers, workforce, production system, market intelligence and communication and, even more importantly, our interaction with the political system underpinning the overall operating framework for trade. The cost to individual sub-sectors in the meat chain has always varied and will continue to do so. Infrastructure retrofitting has been and will continue to be a heavy and on-going investment challenge that can be difficult to justify from an economic perspective. In industry and services, too, requirements are usually excessive and distant with the law of supply and demand. These imbalances increase costs for the meat business and create asymmetries that often hinder regular trade flows. There is a stark need for participation and extensive professional interaction in the discussion of standards. Uruguay has a public/technical/private interaction framework that provides stakeholders with a forum for discussion and is one of the main pillars of the country s animal welfare advances. In short, for meat-exporting countries worldwide, the institutionalisation of animal welfare represents an opportunity for discussing improvements in food production and processing systems.