International Veterinary Conference Next Week

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Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and Water Resources Management, Dr. David Estwick

Issues impacting the international veterinary and animal health sector will come under the microscope next week when Barbados hosts the 21st Conference of the OIE Regional Commission for the Americas from Monday, November 26, to Thursday, November 29, at the Accra Beach Hotel.

The upcoming event is being held under the aegis of the World Organisation for Animal Health, which is still referred to by its French acronym Office International des Epizooties (OIE).

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and Water Resources Management, Dr. David Estwick will deliver the feature address at the 9:00 a.m. opening ceremony.

The OIE is the world body responsible for animal health and the prevention and control of animal diseases. The members also set international standards and guidelines for animal health and trade in animal products. Barbados joined the OIE in 1999.

This marks the first time a major international veterinary conference is being held in the English-speaking Caribbean and it will bring together over 100 participants from OIE member countries across the globe.

Several other international agencies will be in attendance at the four-day meeting including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Pan American

Health Organization, the Inter- American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture various non-governmental bodies as well a number of organisations involved in animal health and production.

The conference will be an opportunity to bring some of the major issues affecting small island states to the fore including the international trade in animals and animal products as well as the impact of animal diseases on small island economies.

It will also offer a chance for local agriculture and veterinary officials to highlight some of the work being carried out in Barbados in the veterinary and scientific field. This includes presentations on the Barbados Black Belly Sheep, the invasive lionfish species, and developments at the Primate Research Centre, among others areas.

The Caribvet Network of animal health, which looks at disease surveillance throughout the region, will also be on the agenda.

andre.skeete@barbados.gov.bb

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