Terrestrial Animal Health Code

Contents | Index Chapter 2.2. SECTION 3. Chapter 3.2.

Chapter 3.1.

Veterinary Services

Article 3.1.1.

The quality of the Veterinary Services depends on a set of factors, which include fundamental principles of an ethical, organisational, legislative, regulatory and technical nature. The Veterinary Services shall conform to these fundamental principles, regardless of the political, economic or social situation of their country.

Compliance with these fundamental principles by the Veterinary Services of a Member Country is important to the establishment and maintenance of confidence in its international veterinary certificates by the Veterinary Services of other Member Countries.

The same fundamental principles should apply in countries where the responsibility for establishing or applying certain animal health or animal welfare measures, or issuing some international veterinary certificates is exercised by an organisation other than the Veterinary Services, or by an authority or agency on behalf of the Veterinary Services. In all cases, the Veterinary Services retain ultimate responsibility for the application of these principles.

These fundamental principles are presented in Article 3.1.2. Other factors affecting quality are described in Volume I of the Terrestrial Code (notification, principles of certification, etc.).

The quality of Veterinary Services, including veterinary legislation, can be measured through an evaluation, whose general principles are described in Article  3.1.3. and in Article 3.1.4.

Recommendations on the evaluation of Veterinary Services, including veterinary legislation, are described in Chapter 3.2.

A procedure for evaluating Veterinary Services by OIE experts, on a voluntary basis, is described in Article 3.1.5.

Article 3.1.2.

Fundamental principles of quality

The Veterinary Services shall comply with the following principles to ensure the quality of their activities:

  1. Professional judgement

    The personnel of Veterinary Services should have the relevant qualifications, scientific expertise and experience to give them the competence to make sound professional judgements.

  2. Independence

    Care should be taken to ensure that Veterinary Services' personnel are free from any commercial, financial, hierarchical, political or other pressures which might affect their judgement or decisions.

  3. Impartiality

    The Veterinary Services should be impartial. In particular, all the parties affected by their activities have a right to expect their services to be delivered under reasonable and non-discriminatory conditions.

  4. Integrity

    The Veterinary Services should guarantee that the work of each of their personnel is of a consistently high level of integrity. Any fraud, corruption or falsification should be identified and corrected.

  5. Objectivity

    The Veterinary Services should at all times act in an objective, transparent and non-discriminatory manner.

  6. Veterinary legislation

    Veterinary legislation is prerequisite to support good governance and provide the legal framework for all key activities of the Veterinary Services.

    Legislation should be suitably flexible to allow for judgements of equivalence and efficient responses to changing situations. In particular, it should define and document the responsibilities and structure of the organisations in charge of the animal identification system, control of animal movements, animal disease control and reporting systems, epidemiological surveillance and communication of epidemiological information.

    A similar demonstration should be made by Veterinary Services when they are in charge of veterinary public health activities.

  7. General organisation

    The Veterinary Services should be able to demonstrate by means of appropriate legislation, sufficient financial resources and effective organisation that they are able to anticipate the requirements for, and have control of, the establishment and application of animal health and animal welfare measures, and of international veterinary certification activities.

    The Veterinary Services should have at their disposal effective systems for animal disease surveillance and for notification of disease problems wherever they occur, in accordance with the Terrestrial Code. Adequate coverage of animal populations should also be demonstrated. They should at all times endeavour to improve their performance in terms of animal health information systems and animal disease control.

    The Veterinary Services should define and document the responsibilities and structure of the organisation (in particular the chain of command) in charge of issuing international veterinary certificates.

    Each position within the Veterinary Services which has an impact on their quality should be described. These job descriptions should include the requirements for education, training, technical knowledge and experience.

  8. Quality policy

    The Veterinary Services should define and document their policy and objectives for, and commitment to, quality, and should ensure that this policy is understood, implemented and maintained at all levels in the organisation. Where conditions allow, they may implement a quality system corresponding to their areas of activity and appropriate for the type, range and volume of work that they have to perform. The recommendations for the quality and evaluation of Veterinary Services propose a suitable reference system, which should be used if a Member Country choose to adopt a quality system.

  9. Procedures and standards

    The Veterinary Services should develop and document appropriate procedures and standards for all providers of relevant activities and associated facilities. These procedures and standards may for example relate to:

    1. programming and management of activities, including international veterinary certification activities;

    2. prevention, control and notification of disease outbreaks;

    3. risk analysis, epidemiological surveillance and zoning;

    4. emergency preparedness for disasters which could have impact on animal health and animal welfare;

    5. inspection and sampling techniques;

    6. diagnostic tests for animal diseases;

    7. preparation, production, registration and control of biological products for use in the diagnosis or prevention of diseases;

    8. border controls and import regulations;

    9. disinfection and disinfestation;

    10. treatments intended to destroy, if appropriate, pathogens in animal products.

    Inasmuch as the OIE has adopted standards on these matters, the Veterinary Services should comply with these standards when applying animal health measures and when issuing international veterinary certificates.

  10. Information, complaints and appeals

    The Veterinary Authority should undertake to reply to legitimate requests from Veterinary Authorities of other Member Countries or any other authority, in particular ensuring that any requests for information, complaints or appeals that they may present are dealt with in a timely manner.

    A record should be maintained of all complaints and appeals and of the relevant action taken by the Veterinary Services.

  11. Documentation

    The Veterinary Services should have at their disposal a reliable and up-to-date documentation system suited to their activities.

  12. Self-evaluation

    The Veterinary Services should undertake periodical self-evaluation especially by documenting achievements against goals, and demonstrating the efficiency of their organisational components and resource adequacy.

    A procedure for evaluating Veterinary Services by OIE experts, on a voluntary basis, is described in Article 3.1.5.

  13. Communication

    Veterinary Services should have effective internal and external systems of communication covering administrative and technical staff and parties affected by their activities.

  14. Human and financial resources

    Responsible authorities should ensure that adequate resources are made available to implement effectively the above activities.

Article 3.1.3.

For the purposes of the Terrestrial Code, every Member Country should recognise the right of another Member Country to undertake, or request it to undertake, an evaluation of its Veterinary Services where the initiating Member Country is an actual or a prospective importer or exporter of commodities and where the evaluation is to be a component of a risk analysis process which is to be used to determine or review sanitary measures which apply to such trade.

Any evaluation of Veterinary Services should be conducted having regard to the OIE recommendations on the evaluation of Veterinary Services presented in Chapter 3.2.

A Member Country has the right to expect that the evaluation of its Veterinary Services will be conducted in an objective manner. A Member Country undertaking evaluation should be able to justify any measure taken as a consequence of its evaluation.

Article 3.1.4.

A Member Country which intends to conduct an evaluation of another Member Country's Veterinary Services should give them notice in writing. This notice should define the purpose of the evaluation and details of the information required.

On receipt of a formal request for information to enable an evaluation of its Veterinary Services by another Member Country, and following bilateral agreement of the evaluation process and criteria, a Member Country should expeditiously provide the other country with meaningful and accurate information of the type requested.

The evaluation process should take into account the fundamental principles and other factors of quality laid down in Article 3.1.1. and in Article  3.1.2. It should also take into consideration the specific circumstances regarding quality, as described in Article 3.1.1., prevailing in the countries concerned.

The outcome of the evaluation conducted by a Member Country should be provided in writing as soon as possible, and in any case within four months of receipt of the relevant information, to the Member Country which has undergone the evaluation. The evaluation report should detail any findings which affect trade prospects. The Member Country which conducts the evaluation should clarify in detail any points of the evaluation on request.

In the event of a dispute between two Member Countries over the conduct or the conclusions of the evaluation of the Veterinary Services, the matter should be dealt with having regard to the procedures set out in Article 5.3.8.

Article 3.1.5.

Evaluation facilitated by OIE experts under the auspices of the OIE

The OIE has established procedures for the evaluation of the Veterinary Services of a Member Country, upon request by the Member Country.

The World Assembly of OIE Delegates endorses a list of approved experts to facilitate the evaluation process.

Under these procedures, the Director General of the OIE recommends experts from that list.

The experts facilitate the evaluation of the Veterinary Services of the Member Country based on Chapter 3.2., using the OIE Tool for the Evaluation of Performance of Veterinary Services (OIE PVS Tool).

The experts produce a report in consultation with the Veterinary Services of the Member Country.

The report is submitted to the Director General of the OIE and, with the consent of the Member Country, published by the OIE.

nb: first adopted in 1998; most recent update adopted in 2014.

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Contents | Index Chapter 2.2. Chapter 3.2.