ACTA VET. BRNO 2004, 73:  299-301


                                                       Book Review


Veterinary Services: organization, quality assurance, evaluation. OIE Scientific and Technical Review, Volume 22 (2), August 2003, 309 pages. ISBN 92-9044-596-3 and ISSN 0253-1933


     In response to increasing requirements for safe international trade, veterinary services must show that their structure, organization, resources, and scientific and technical capabilities are in line with the need of their own countries, and those of countries or groups of countries with which they trade. This was the reason for publishing this very useful compendium of 31 papers dedicated to  veterinary services in different regions of the world, written mostly by Chief Veterinary Officers and edited by E. Correa Melo and F. Gester. The papers are grouped in  five blocks: challenges, examples of different regions, support networks for veterinary services, quality assurance and evaluation.


    The majority of the papers are describing veterinary services organizational structure, responsibilities, activities and administration. Particular attention is given  to the protection of animal and human health,  eradication of major diseases, food hygiene, international trade, environment protection, animal welfare, information systems, legislation, service delivery systems, etc. Unfortunately, the publication is lacking of information on practical results achieved, veterinary services staff quality (education level, postgraduate training, accreditation conditions, etc.) and numbers (government and private veterinarians, animal health assistants, etc.), workload (related to animal population numbers, export and import), material assurance, budget, etc.. Comparative study to assess the effectiveness of different organizational forms of public veterinary services is missing as well.


     In the block “Challenges” R. Marabelli, Italian Chief Veterinary Officer and actual President of the OIE  is listing generally known  duties and main activities of public veterinary service without mentioning  anything about the unique experience of Italian service exceptionally placed under ministry of health. He did not explain why this service has not eradicated African swine fever, the most dangerous pig disease, during last 25 years (meanwhile pork export increased 4O times).


   The article written by S.C. MacDiarmid y H.J. Pharo from New Zealand is one of their many papers on risk analysis published last decade. As usually, it represents theoretical unrealistic model (requiring enormous number of data) without any prove of its practical feasibility. Their methods were unable to predict the risk and thus to avoid  recent first-time-import in their home country of equine infectious anaemia, viral heamorrhagic disease of rabbits and varroosis of bees (incorrectly reported as free for several years). The paradox is that the first author belongs among those who are responsible for the abolition of functioning global animal health information system of regular reporting on animal diseases occurrence and import and for replacing it by one non interpretable cross (“+”) making impossible objective import risk assessment. The worse is that their non transparent methods were abused in the WTO-SPS and OIE Code for replacing previous fair trade guarantee of animal health and food safety and thus created conditions for animal diseases spreading through international trade. They are giving lessons to the whole world without having their own “home” in order: official reports indicate that the real sanitary situation and size of  populations are not known (e.g. in 2001, difference 4 million sheep between  minister and Chief Veterinary Officer). Inclusion of this paper having nothing to do with veterinary services organization  reflects strong influence of this country on the OIE.


WTO-SPS and OIE policy has been influencing many authors. For example P.B. Jolly from France writes (page 384) “It is imperative to put an end to certain misconceptions, particularly the requirement of ‘zero risk’. ” and mentions the idea of  “responsible consumers”, in other words to accept  risky food.


In the block “Organization – examples from different regions of the OIE” there are quite detailed   information on actual and future veterinary services organization and programme, mostly without any critical analysis, from Canada, France,  Belize, Malaysia,  Japan, Lithuania, Africa and Latin America. Only the paper describing federal system of veterinary services in Switzerland includes critical evaluation of its veterinary service and self-critical paper from the Republic of Korea  admits that “current veterinary manpower is inadequate to cope” with its tasks.


The block “Support networks for Veterinary Services” is introduced by interesting paper of E. Correa Melo and V. Saraiva on how to promote joint participation of the public and private sector in the organization of animal health programmes. Other contributions are from Belgium, USA, Kenya, France and South America informing on the role of private veterinarians and laboratories and on the related problems. It is a pity that no one is informing about the procedures how to guarantee animal health and food safety through private sector (e.g. accreditation and independence requirements for testing and issuing official certificates).


 Particular attention merits the statement (page 549) in the paper “The obligations of member Countries of the OIE (World organization for animal health) in the organization of Veterinary Services” written by  B.Vallat (Director General, OIE) and D.W.Wilson. They refer to the OIE Code  recommending “that an international veterinary certificate not include requirements for  the exclusion of pathogens or animal diseases which are present within the importing country and are not subject to any official control programme in that country.” In other words, the importing country should not require healthy animals and innocuous animal products ! The statement represents inter alia clear instruction for spreading animal diseases through international trade towards worsening  sanitary situation in importing countries. This is in absolute contrast not only to the “new” OIE name (including word “animal health”)  and to hypocritical callings for animal health and food safety but also to all global programmes requiring the health such as  protection of animal and human populations, food safety, biosecurity, sustainable development,  environment protection,  poverty reduction, etc..The tragedy is that the only inter-governmental independent organization in veterinary medicine changed its original health protection policy into organizing disease spreading causing irreparable consequences in importing countries, mainly developing ones.


In the block “Quality assurance: implementation and practical experience” there are papers from France, Brazil, USA, Australia and Africa. All papers deal, without mentioning practical experience, with food health quality measures at the post-harvest level only. No one is considering that  quality process begins at farm level where  pathogen cycles start. At the slaughterhouses the microscopic pathogens cannot be detected and HACCP can only avoid the contamination of the products during their processing and transport. The article “Quality assurance applied to animal disease surveillance systems” written by  M.D. Salman, K.D.C. Staerk and C. Zepeda is an example of theoreticians’ papers recommending  unrealistic procedures not proved by practical testing (not applicable even in their home country).


In the block “Evaluation” there are contributions from Australia, USA, Brazil and France. D.W. Wilson and A.B. Thiermann in “Approaches to resolving trade disputes” quote useful paragraphs of known international documents. Unfortunately, they do not consider that according to OIE exporting countries  issue veterinary “certificates” as information documents only and not  quality guarantee documents with full responsibility, as currently required in all other commodities. The last paper is dedicated to the accreditation of veterinary inspection system analysing existing one and suggesting its future development.


The structure of the compendium does not respect country representativeness indicating too strong disproportional influence of the major exporting countries on the OIE policy, including its publications. As usually information and experience of Central European countries are missing what reflects their discrimination and probably also the fear of the comparison with the others as far as practical results are concerned. The  compendium  uncritically supports the concept of “facilitate trade” at the expense of animal health in importing countries. The papers of other opinion are not included. Almost all contributions refer to or quote the WTO “Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures” (WTO-SPS) admitting and supporting the propagation of animal disease through international trade. In the whole compendium there is no one word of trade in healthy animals or sanitary innocuous products in spite of  calling for the protection of animal and human health and for food safety. As editorial “novelty” the abbreviation of the “OIE” is always translated as “World Organization for Animal Health” (self-declaration without any official clearance by member country governments) and not as official name “International Office of  Epizootics”.


A CD-ROM containing text of several useful documents related to veterinary service organization is attached as Annex.





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




 Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General, OIE sent to the reviewer a letter dated 14 March 2005 containing following comment:


“You should know that as per Resolution XVI of the International Committee, which was passed during the 71st General Session (May 2003), the OIE was authorised ‘… to use, in all circumstances, alongside the statutory name of the OIE, the common name World Organization for Animal Health’. The rationale behind this decision is that ’.. the scope of the OIE’s missions has evolved beyond the prevention and control of epizootic diseases to include all animal health issues and their public health implications and management needing to be addressed on a regional or global scale. ’


This letter de facto unintentionally confirms my above mentioned comment “As editorial “novelty” the abbreviation of the “OIE” is always translated as “World Organization for Animal Health” (self-declaration without any official clearance by member country governments) and not as official name “International Office of  Epizootics”.


The OIE has been using the name “World Organization for Animal Health” in its official documents from 1994, i.e. the year of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and not from 2003.


In any international official and scientific documents the abbreviation of any name must be translated exactly which is valid also for any inter-governmental organizations such as the OIE.


When preparing my paper “Quantitative analysis of global veterinary human resources” (published in Rev. sci. tech. int. Epiz., 22, 2004) I protested against editor’s changing correct  translation of the “OIE” in the text as well as in literature references.  The reaction was sent  on 25 October 2003 by Mr. R. Dugas, Head of the Publication Department, OIE: “Dear Author – As per a decision by the Director General, Office International des Epizooties has now been dropped. I know that the acronym does not now make much sense but this is how the organization is now officially known and how it will appear in every article in the review.” This statement confirms once more that my above mentioned comment on unofficial self-declaration was correct.


In 2003 Dr J. Holejsovsky, Czech Chief Veterinary Officer and Delegate to the OIE confirmed me that the change had not been officially cleared by the governments ! He indicated that the reason had been probably based on the initiatives of some delegates commenting that the word “Office” is not sufficiently authoritative and respected.


Official government ratification of changing original inter-government organization name and scope cannot be replaced by lower decision level such as the OIE International Committee of Chief Veterinary Officers. Any change of this type must be done only on the same level as when the Organization was established, i.e. governments and parliaments.


Comparison of original  and changed OIE mission significantly debilitating (or “dropping” ?) the original anti-epizootic activities see on author’s website in “Factors facilitating animal disease spreading through international trade”, paragraphs 13.1-13.3.  International legal culture is obviously not strong point of the OIE, or better not respected at all !


A copy of the DG OIE lying letter obtained also Dr Nikola Belev (Bulgaria CVO), OIE Coordinator for Central and Eastern Europe and President, OIE Regional Commission for Europe who is obviously behind the OIE reaction. He is responsible for deterrent world record in the destruction of government veterinary service in his home country and influencing similarly Central and Eastern European countries. More information see in “Global crisis of public professional veterinary manpower” on the same website.