World Organisation for Animal Health

The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), formerly the Office International des Epizooties (OIE), is an intergovernmental organisation founded in 1924, coordinating, supporting and promoting animal disease control.

World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH)
Organisation Mondiale de la Santé Animale (OMSA)
Organización Mundial de Sanidad Animal (OMSA)
  of World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) Organisation Mondiale de la Santé Animale (OMSA) Organización Mundial de Sanidad Animal (OMSA)
HeadquartersParis, France
  • French
  • English
  • Spanish
Membership183 members[1]
• Director General
Monique Eloit[2]
• President
Susana Pombo
• Vice president
Fajer Sabah Al Salloom
• Members of the Council
  • Roland Xolani Dlamini
  • Masatsugu Okita
  • Mary Van Andel
  • Wilmer José Juarez Juarez
  • Mbargou Lo
  • Christine Middlemiss
25 January 1924 (1924-01-25)
Map showing WOAH membership

Mission and status


The primary objective of WOAH is to control epizootic[3] diseases and prevent their spread.[4] Further objectives include the sharing of transparent, scientific information; international solidarity; sanitary safety; and the promotion of veterinary services‚ food safety and animal welfare.

WOAH is recognised by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as an international reference for the safe trade of animals and animal products regarding risks due to animal diseases and zoonoses[5]

As of May 2023, with the latest appointment of St Vincent and the Grenadines, WOAH counts 183 Members[6]. The Organisation maintains permanent relations with over 70 partner organisations and has regional and sub-regional offices on every continent.

WOAH is not a part of the United Nations (UN) system. Its autonomy is both institutional and financial and its activities are governed by its own constitutional texts. Since its first general session held in Paris, the organisation carries out its work under the authority of a committee consisting of delegates of the contracting governments.



The need to fight animal diseases at a global level led to the creation of the Office International des Epizooties through the international agreement signed on January 25, 1924. Delegates at the International Conference on Epizootic Diseases of Domestic Animals, a May 1921 conference with diplomats from 43 countries, had called for the establishment of an international organisation to coordinate responses against infectious animal diseases. The delegates were motivated by a rinderpest pandemic.[7]

In May 2003, the office became the World Organisation for Animal Health but kept its historical acronym OIE,[8] which was in use until May 2022.[9]

In December 2016, 430 delegates to the fourth Global Conference on Animal Welfare approved a range of measures aimed to improve animal welfare. An OIE strategy document which stemmed from this conference was to be presented for adoption at the OIE World Assembly in May 2017.[10][needs update]

In January 2017, the outgoing Obama administration designated the OIE as an organization entitled to benefits of the International Organizations Immunities Act.[11]

In May 2022, the organisation stopped using the historical acronym OIE, and started to use the new acronym WOAH.[12]


WOAH's headquarters in Paris

WOAH's headquarters are located in Paris, in the 17th arrondissement. It was in 1939 that WOAH moved to the aristocratic district of Parc Monceau, after having occupied premises since 1927 near the Champs de Mars and the Eiffel Tower, that had been provided by the French Higher Public Health Council. In May 1938, the WOAH members gave Dr Emmanuel Leclainche [fr], the organisation's founder and first general director, full powers to buy a townhouse in Paris, using the reserve fund. Lecleinche chose the mansion from four properties selected by a commission comprising the President of the WOAH, H.C.L.E. Berger (Netherlands), the vice-president, Carlo Bisanti (Italy), and the accountant, Gottlieb Flückiger [de] (Switzerland). On 22 February 1939, WOAH, represented by E. Leclainche, bought the mansion from the Marquise de Montebello, at a cost of 700,000 francs.

The 13th General Session of WOAH was held from 30 May to 5 June 1939, at 12 rue de Prony after rebuilding work had been completed. Due to the Second World War, the following general session did not take place until 1946, from 2 to 5 October. Following their entry into Paris in June 1940, the German occupying forces temporarily closed and sealed WOAH headquarters. The efforts of president Gottlieb Flückiger, elected in 1939, resulted in its re-opening.

12 rue de Prony was built in 1879, in Neo-Renaissance style, by the celebrated architect Jean-Louis Pascal for the Austrian baron Jonas von Königswater, a former banker and railway owner. A succession of major works to renovate and modernise the headquarters were undertaken by the directors general elected after Leclainche: Gaston Ramon, René Vittoz, Louis Blajan, Jean Blancou and Bernard Vallat [fr]. Due to the headlong development of the organisation (tripling of the staff and the budget since 2001), additional premises have been rented at 14 rue de Prony since 2004. On 16 March 2009, WOAH purchased a large part of the building at 14 rue de Prony, adjoining its headquarters.

World Animal Health Information Database (WAHID) interface


Timely dissemination of information is crucial to containing disease outbreaks. The WAHID Interface provides access to all data held within WOAH's new World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS).[13] It replaces and significantly extends the former web interface named Handistatus II System.[citation needed]

A comprehensive range of information is available from:[citation needed]

  • Immediate notifications and follow-up reports submitted by member countries in response to exceptional disease events occurring in these countries as well as follow-up reports about these events
  • Biannual reports describing the WOAH-listed disease situations in each country
  • Annual reports providing further background information on animal health and laboratory and vaccine production facilities

See also



  1. ^ "Members Countries".
  2. ^ "OIE gains new director general". American Veterinary Medical Association. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  3. ^ Protect animals Archived 2 March 2021 at the Wayback Machine Pets
  4. ^ Missions of the OIE at OIE official website
  5. ^
  6. ^,183%20Member%20of%20the%20Organisation.
  7. ^ McVety, Amanda Kay, ed. (2018), "Rinderpest and the Origins of International Cooperation for Disease Control", The Rinderpest Campaigns: A Virus, Its Vaccines, and Global Development in the Twentieth Century, Global and International History, Cambridge University Press, pp. 13–46, doi:10.1017/9781108381673.002, ISBN 978-1-108-42274-1
  8. ^ History of the OIE at OIE official website
  9. ^
  10. ^ "OIE welfare conference moves toward new global strategy". Informa Markets, a trading division of Informa PLC. Feedstuffs, a publication of FarmProgress.
  11. ^ "Executive Order -- Designating the World Organisation for Animal Health as a Public International Organisation Entitled to Enjoy Certain Privileges, Exemptions, and Immunities". 12 January 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2017 – via National Archives.
  12. ^ "The World Organisation for Animal Health launches its refreshed brand identity". 28 May 2022. Retrieved 30 May 2022.
  13. ^ WAHIS