Animal Health and Production

Livestock plays an important role in the social, cultural and economic environment of Pacific Island communities. Indeed many, of the important social and cultural events in island life cannot be properly carried out without the slaughter and presentation of livestock in sufficient numbers. The Animal Health and Production thematic team works together in the Pacific region to develop prosperous, efficient and sustainable animal health and production systems, producing healthy animals and safe products for food security and income generation.

Livestock emergency guidelines and standards for the Pacific Island region
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 12:42


Last 29th –31st August, the animal health and production officers from the region gathered at the Tanoa Skylodge Hotel in Nadi, Fiji, for the 2nd Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards Workshop for the Pacific Island Region. Livestock emergency guidelines and standards (LEGS) are a set of international guidelines and standards for the design, implementation and assessment of livestock interventions to assist people affected by humanitarian crises, such as natural disasters.  LEGS is a planning and coordination tool intended for those who are involved in livestock-based interventions, specifically organisations whose funding and implementation decisions impact on disaster responses. 

The main focus of LEGS is to save the livelihoods of communities, particularly those who rely on livestock as a source of revenue, by suggesting interventions that will save the lives of animals during and after disasters.

The workshop was organised by the Animal Health and Production team of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC AHP) and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). The twenty veterinary and livestock officers from Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu learnt about different planning and decision-making tools to support emergency responses for the livestock sector. Representatives from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Fiji) and professors from the Fiji National University added to the diversity of participation for this three-day workshop.

A similar workshop was conducted by SPC, WSPA and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in November 2012 as part of the effort to make the livestock sector in the Pacific more resilient to climate change. The awareness of LEGS established at the first workshop was put to good use during a post-tsunami response operation in Solomon Islands in early February 2013.  The Solomon Islands Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock adapted the preliminary assessment tools outlined in the LEGS handbook to conduct the preliminary needs assessment survey for the livestock sector in Temotu Province.  The data gathered were used to develop proposals for the livestock rehabilitation programme for the community. 

The effective use of LEGS in the Pacific region needs to be further established, but the potential application and benefits of the guidelines and tools are very relevant for consideration, particularly in making the livestock sector more resilient to the environmental consequences of natural disasters.  The strong support from  SPC and WSPA in the delivery of the pilot LEGS trainings for the Pacific region has been a significant step in improving the disaster response for the animal health and production sector in small island countries.

The 2nd LEGS training was a prelude to the 15th Australasia-Oceania Commonwealth of Veterinary Association Conference scheduled from 2 to 6 September 2013. 

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