PARIS – Antibiotics, animal welfare and animal diseases were key points of discussion for US Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilack and Dr. Bernard Vallat, Director General of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The meeting came during Vilsack's tour of Europe to discuss expanding trade opportunities. Stops included Luxembourg City, Brussels and Paris, where Vilsack met with Vallat and Stéphane Le Foll, France's minister of agriculture. Vilsack's tour ends in Ireland, where he will meet with Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and tour Irish beef and dairy farms.

Vilsack and Dr. Vallat jointly addressed several important issues including the responsible use of antibiotics, standards for animal welfare, emerging zoonotic diseases and the Global Health Security Agenda, an international partnership formed to promote global health security as an international priority and to achieve a comprehensive global system to defend against biological threats.

Dr. Vallat also stressed the importance of transparency in disease reporting and the implementation of science-based OIE intergovernmental standards.

“Trust is the critical foundation for trade,” Dr. Vallat said. “This trust involves the collective contributions on the part of the livestock owners, the agricultural industry, national Governments and intergovernmental organizations. The capacity, competency, credibility and integrity of the national Veterinary Services must be supported as an important OIE standard and a global public good.”