(P.S amendment  on 20 March 2007)



                                                                                                                                                                      ACTA VET. BRNO, 2004, 73: 552-554


Book Review


Veterinary institutions in the developing world: current status and future needs,

OIE Review scientific and technique, Vol. 23 (1) April 2004, ISSN 0253-1933, ISBN 92-9044-605-6


The monothematic compendium on veterinary institutions in the developing world has 401 pages and contains 28 papers edited by Dr C. de Haan, Senior Adviser, Agriculture and Rural Development Department, World Bank in Washington. The document is subdivided in several blocks: private and public sector roles, international standards, levels of service provision (professionals, para-professionals and auxiliaries), example of experience in the field with para-professionals, country case studies, current veterinary system in the developing world and implication for the future.


The authors are persons having not direct responsibility for national animal population health and the majority are from developed countries (19 from 28). Several authors commenting critically the situation in developing countries due to exaggerated privatization are the same who share the responsibility for the previous policy dismantling fragile public veterinary institutions’ structure developed in the past. The leading international organization responsible for the extreme reduction of public veterinary institutions and their activities in developing world was World Bank applying  privatization regardless of the health protection needs. Its officers are now giving the orientation to this Office International des Epizooties (OIE) publication. It reflects actual OIE policy of “serving” not only to World Trade Organization (WTO) but also to World Bank (WB).


This publication documents continuing domination of experts from OIE-privileged countries. As an example the paper „The emerging animal health delivery system in the People’s Republic in China can be mentioned written by the foreigners - Drs Bedard and Hunt. It is difficult to believe that the most populous state in the world and full member of the OIE has nobody who is able to write about the situation in his home country and that the OIE is abandoning its  neutrality.


Particular attention merits the bloc of international standards. Dr A. Thiermann (USA), President, OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission in his paper entitled „Adapting veterinary infrastructure to meet the challenges of globalization and the requirements of the World Trade Organization Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures“ (WTO/SPS) is  stressing, without any proof, how the implementation of this document is and will be „maximizing the benefit of globalization.“. This is the same trick as WTO/SPS promising preamble "Desiring to improve the human health, animal health .. in all Members;" while in the whole document there is no one word  of the health improvement (perhaps expecting that “thousand times repeated lie becomes the truth”). On the contrary, WTO/SPS was written only to facilitate the export of  non-healthy animals and their products, i.e. disease export, through converting very useful OIE Code recommendations for free decision-making into obligatory limits reducing country protection. Importing country cannot ask to import “healthy animals” or “pathogen-free animal products” (unknown terms in WTO/SPS) without convincing scientific justification. What a nonsense ! The author doesn’t document any benefit for almost defenceless importing developing countries after exaggerated privatization imposed by some international financial organizations. Defending WTO/SPS is admitting spreading of animal diseases through „unrestricted trade“ (!?) which is contrary to original OIE constitution and could be understood as international crime. The WTO/SPS has caused incalculable numbers of newly affected animals and persons by “legally” imported pathogens conducing to disease globalization = man-made irreparable global ecological disaster. The author is uncritically repeating the provisions of WTO/SPS without any practical recommendations beneficial to developing importing countries. Similarly, Dr G.K. Bruckner in his paper entitled “Working towards compliance with international standards” is uncritically defending  WTO/SPS and OIE Code admitting export of pathogens. Both authors do not respect  complicated features, variability and dynamics of the pathogens and diseases as biological phenomena.. They obviously forgot that an international standard means  100 % quality, i.e. in our case sanitary innocuousness, that fair free trade depends on the agreement between  participating countries without any outside dictate or interference and that anti-epizootic activities and medical ethics are based on the principle “Primum non nocere !”.


Only one paper refers to basic international document „Guidelines for strengthening animal health services in developing countries“, FAO, 1991 published in English, French and Spanish and elaborated by the best experienced Chief Veterinary Officers of all continents. This „oversight“ indicates “new” policy of  OIE and  FAO dedicating more attention to strengthening private services (supported also by WB, IMF, WVA, banks, pharmaceutical industry, etc.) instead to public veterinary institutions (depending only on government limited budget). Significantly reduced  public institutions in developing countries are not able to monitor and effectively control disease situation, supervise trade and private veterinary service  as well as to resist  disease import. The majority of the papers underestimate that this defence weakness is favourable to the major exporting developed countries supported by WTO/SPS and OIE Code giving priority to “facilitated export” instead to protection of health in importing countries. The OIE did not present to member country governments any risk analysis and warnings to avoid the dismantling of public veterinary institutions having the key irreplaceable role in any anti-epizootic activity (originally main task of the OIE) including trade control. The OIE did not protest when  the World Bank was imposing unscrupulously on developing countries to minimize government support and budget for public veterinary institutions and anti-epizootic programmes.


Dr T.W. Shillhorn van Veen (Netherlands), World Bank, Washington in his paper on  veterinary services included  “Eastern Europe” = Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia among developing countries which is clear insult to the respective states. The paper contains critics without any proof and forgetting that the main criteria of veterinary services are their practical results. However, the author avoided the comparison between the results in the mentioned countries and in so-called “developed” ones. The paper is widely operating with so-called “veterinary livestock units” (VLU) without any clear definition what they mean.


Among the papers are two from France and one from Netherlands describing their experience with private and public veterinary services. Several papers suggested veterinary institution structures of developed countries to be transferred as examples and models in developing world. The truth is that these models of minimization public veterinary institutions and of anti-epizootic programmes are not good examples due to inability to control effectively communicable diseases and trade (e.g. lost of 4 million food animals due to FMD in United Kingdom,  lost of 10 million pigs due to hog cholera in Netherlands, long-lasting African swine fever in Italy, export of FMD from France to Netherlands, etc.).


Common characteristic of  many contributions, similarly as in all recent OIE publications, is almost a “duty” to refer to WTO/SPS, commend and propagate it not permitting any doubts, opposing opinion or even critics. The abbreviation “OIE” in all the texts and even in all the references is always defined non exactly (i.e. non scientifically in contrast to the Review name) as “World Organization for Animal Health” in spite of the “new” policy admitting and even supporting disease spreading through international trade and thus worsening global animal health. I do not know any scientific publication where the Editor distorts deliberately official name of inter-governmental organization  into incorrect artificial term not respecting even original text sent by the authors. The self-declared (not officially cleared by the member country governments) new name cannot conceal the fact that OIE is not more consistent anti-epizootic defender of the health and serves only as an unfair confusion of  the readers.


The Summary and  Conclusions are also elaborated by Dr C. de Haan (Word Bank officer during last three decades) who shares the responsibility for  dismantling  public veterinary services in developing world as well as in “Eastern Europe” through reducing their funds and staff.  In spite of this he included a hypocritical wording:  „… particularly emphasise the need to address the serious shortage of funds and staff in Africa and Eastern Europe(!?).


The appreciation merit individual country case studies. The majority of the contributions dealing with para-professionals and auxiliaries contain many useful information on their involvement in veterinary practice in developing countries. The comparison and objective evaluation of practical results of different veterinary institution structures, their advantages and disadvantages, is  missing. There are no any feasible recommendations based on proved experience how to develop veterinary institutions in developing countries in order to improve animal health, disease control and eradication, protection of human health, protection of country territory against the introduction of diseases through international trade,  etc. However, the publication is very useful as an information source reflecting OIE departure from original consistent  anti-epizootic policy and very critical reality of public veterinary institutions in developing world.




                                                                                                      Prof. MVDr Václav  K o u b a, DrSc.




P.S. Amendment


The international responsibility for absurd privatization of veterinary services, i.e. dismantling functioning government services during the 1990s

rests with the relevant intergovernmental organizations such as the OIE and the FAO. The irony is that the same organizations and their officers call today for strengthening  government services in order to able to cope with actual problems of animal population health/diseases‘ control and animal trade.


Example: During XXV World Veterinary Congress in Yokohama, Japan, 3-9 November 1995 the representatives of the OIE (J. Blancou, DG OIE, A. Panin, member of OIE Code Commission for international trade and N. Belev, adviser to DG OIE and President, OIE Regional Commission for Europe) presented a paper entitles „Animal Health Problems in the Countries of Eastern Europe during the transition to a market economy and the creation of private sector. Possible solutions.“ These „specialists„ previously supported the destruction of government services in these countries without any replacement to facilitate trade at the detriment of importing countries. Without any scientific and practical analyses they accepted this antisanitary conversion conducing to stop disease eradication programmes, the minimize preventive veterinary medicine and letting pathogens‘ spreading through international trade, i.e. to worsen animal health situation. The consequences are catastrophic. The above mentioned organization and its „specialists“ didn’t care about animal diseases spreading through trade. In particular Dr N. Belev, as two decades being President, OIE Commission for Europe is the main co-responsible for public veterinary services destruction in the Europe (the most drastic privatization  was carried out in his home country being commended by World Bank and international traders) and for letting the diseases to spread within the Europe. He has done nothing for eradication of African swine fever in Europe existing there for three decades (global shame of the OIE and its Commission!). What is his work and the OIE Commission for? For having well paid good “armchair” job without any international responsibility being kept at the OIE HQs by his „friends“ thanks to his systematic slandering of Eastern European countries (similar slander, obviously based on N. Belev’s “information”, can be found in many OIE documents up today, even in the texts written by the DG OIE !) and toadying to Western Countries. The authors informed the world untruthfully, as usually without any objective analyses, concrete data and comparative study, that Eastern European countries were not integrated into international medical community (!?): “The importance of the role of the OIE and the OIE regional Commission for Europe in helping the countries of Eastern Europe into international veterinary medical community is discussed.” Note: The help was in deliberate paralysing their well developed, strong and effective services having eradicated many dangerous diseases what was not the case in many West European countries (e.g. African swine fever, FMD, BSE, hog cholera, etc.) exporting easily animal diseases through non-healthy animals and not foodborne disease pathogens-free into Eastern European countries thanks to dismantled their public veterinary service unable to control the import as before (= work of the OIE and its staff supported by the World Bank and World Trade Organization) ! What a difference of Dr Luis Blajan, Director General, OIE presentation during “Round Table in the Livestock Production Sector in Eastern Europe be Affected by Current Changes”, Budapest, 14-17 April 1991 applying objective analysis, using concrete convincing data, highly appreciated Eastern Europe veterinary services’ organization, disease surveillance and control activities, as well  the results of many important diseases’ successful eradication and thus creating buffer zones to protect Western European countries against  panzootic waves of very dangerous diseases penetrating from the East.