We often talk about the horse world in the national context, but at the global level the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) assists to protect our horses and the horse industry from infectious disease and to put regulations in place for safe trade and transport between countries.

To help an international audience better understand the OIE’s role, Susanne Münstermann, DVM, PhD, of the OIE Scientific and Technical Department in Paris, explained the organization’s mission and objectives and gave an overview on international standards and regulations governing international trade of animals and their products as described in the "Terrestrial Animal Health Code" and "Terrestrial Animal Health Manual" during her presentation at the 2012 International Conference on Equine Infectious Disease, held Oct. 22-26 in Lexington, Ky.

"Standards and regulations by their nature are complex, take a lot of time to be agreed upon by those that elaborate them and the countries for which they are applicable, and, hence, to present them is as dry as a bone," Münstermann joked as she opened her presentation to a group of more than 100 veterinarians and researchers. "Therefore, I’m sorry, I cannot ask you to put on your seatbelts so that I can take you on an exciting ride through the world of international horse transportation. Mine is to talk about generalities of OIE principles for disease freedom because we want to transport healthy animals … and how to harmonize and facilitate international horse movement."

The OIE’s Purpose

Münstermann explained that a