The pros and cons of animal health harmonisation.

David Adamson, William Gilbert, Peregrine Rothman-Ostrow, and Jonathan Rushton of the Global Burden of Animal Diseases project have collaborated to produce the now published The Pros and Cons of Animal Health Harmonisation.

It has been argued that the global harmonisation of animal health procedures, regulations and responses will improve animal health and provide economic benefits. Harmonisation of regulations can be driven by trade reform, such as multilateral or bilateral agreements, or as a response to private quality assurance programmes.
At an international level, trade reform is currently focused on reducing the costs of trading between countries. To achieve this, bilateral agreements, where possible, are harmonising regulations throughout all sectors of the economy. However, as with any new developments, there are both positive and negative outcomes that should be explored to understand the net effect of these changes on animal health, the economy and society.
In this article, the authors debate the economic foundations of harmonisation, explore alternative methods to achieve it, and discuss its pros and cons to more fully understand the opportunity costs from countries adopting the same level of risk to animal health.

This article is available in the OIE Scientific and Technical Review on Ensuring safe trade in animals and animal products, issue 39(1) It can be found