Animal welfare related issues have been intensely discussed in recent years as a consequence of changes in public attitudes and regulatory reforms that are taking place in many countries. A combination of public opinion pressure and trade policy has driven requirements for regulation and the World Trade Organization (WTO) assigned the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to develop guidelines that could be used as international standards. However, trade disputes related to animal welfare are not likely to be resolved under the auspices of OIE, and access to international markets may be questioned in a way that does not necessarily reflect attitudes to animal production in emerging economies, such as those in South America. This paper presents an overall view of basic welfare issues and points out specific items related to the present scenario of norms and regulations that are being implemented in South America, where the growing poultry industry is an important economic activity.
Competitiveness; developing countries; international trade; welfare policies