Development and implementation of the RAWS has been supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy. The aim of the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy is to assist in the creation of a more consistent and effective animal welfare system. One of the goals of the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy is to ensure that Australia is actively engaged in international partnerships and developments to improve animal welfare. Australia has provided leadership and some funding to support the development of the regional animal welfare strategy in collaboration with the OIE.
The RAWS agreed vision is; “A region where the welfare of animals is respected, promoted and incrementally advanced, simultaneously with the pursuit of progress and socioeconomic development. This vision presents both significant challenges and opportunities. These are reflected in the priority goals and their supporting objectives and specific activities.
The Director General of the OIE agreed to establish a RAWS coordination group (RAWS CG) and nominated OIE regional representatives, industry, and an animal welfare international non-government organisation as its members. Dr Gardner Murray was appointed as chair and the first meeting of the RAWS coordination group was held in Bangkok, Thailand in April 2011. The first coordination group meeting involved country representatives from Bhutan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Republic of Korea and Thailand, industry representatives from Australia and Thailand, a non-government organisation representative from the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), OIE representatives from the Regional Representation (Tokyo), the Sub-Regional Representation (Bangkok) and the OIE’s Animal Welfare Working Group. The Australian Government Department of Agriculture provided the secretariat for the coordination group.
Since its first meeting in April 2011, the coordination group has progressed a number of recommendations through OIE Paris for endorsement through the Regional Commission. Highlights of the coordination group’s activities include;
With the support of its members, OIE has established in-country national animal welfare focal points. Focal points are responsible for establishing and maintaining a dialogue with the competent authority for animal welfare in the country, and/or facilitating cooperation and communication among authorities where responsibilities are shared. The RAWS coordination group engages closely with the national animal welfare focal points in the Asia, Far East and Oceania region. The RAWS coordination group aims to support national animal welfare focal points with the implementation of OIE Standards and to improve knowledge and understanding of animal welfare in a region comprising more than half the world population of people and animals.