DUBAI, -- The first National Conference on Animal Welfare in the UAE and the region opened here on Wednesday where participants will discuss ways to arrive at a common understanding of the existing challenges and work on promoting co-operation between concerned authorities to move towards better animal welfare.

"The conference is expected to come up with clear national laws to tackle current challenges in the UAE in the field of implementing globally accepted animal welfare principles," said Dr. Al Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, while inaugurating the two-day conference, organised by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment at the World Trade Center.

The meeting also aims to analyse the requirements for developing a national policy, identify its impact on economic growth, health and environment, and reach an agreement on the measures to be implemented.

"The conference is the first of its kind in the region and it underlines the UAE's special attention on the constant follow-up of animal welfare procedures and its development in accordance with the best international standards and practices to build an integrated platform for animal welfare," Al Zeyoudi added.

The participants will also discuss a number of related issues, including relevant federal and local laws in the country and the challenges faced by the concerned authorities. They will further discuss global practices, including those in Australia, role of civil organisations as well as the principles of animal care, and international terms and conditions for animal transportation and slaughterhouses.

A number of workshops will be held to discuss legislation, mechanisms of co-operation, monitoring, law enforcement and other issues of animal welfare.

Among those present on the opening day were Dr. Matthew Stone, Deputy Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE); representatives and experts from the world body, International Fund for Animal Welfare; representatives of the Australian Cattle Programme; local, regional and global authorities, and students of the Veterinary Medicine Department at the UAE University.

Source: Emirates News Agency