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ISAH – About

Who we are?

From the desk of the Executive Board.

ISAHAnimal hygiene is a unique interdisciplinary field of science where health and welfare of both animals and humans are closely intertwined and hygienic measures are in service of animal and human health, animal welfare and behaviour, public health, bio-security, sustainable animal production and environmental protection making optimal and economic use of resources. The core device is "Prevention is Better than Cure" which is in accordance with the EU future principle to prevent diseases instead of later costly treatment.

In more detail Animal Hygiene can be regarded as the third pillar of veterinary medicine besides curing and care taking representing the science of preventing diseases in a broad sense. This concept encompasses:

  • The knowledge of all relevant aspects of the abiotic and biotic environment of animals in any keeping system.
  • The understanding of the principles of the interactions of animals with their technical, physical (thermal), chemical and biological surrounding in order to improve their health, welfare and performance without the unnecessary use of drugs being the preconditions for the production of safe and healthy food.
  • The recognition of risk factors for animal health and welfare and the description of measures which prevent the development and spread of diseases and pathogens in animals including those that pose a risk to human health (Zoonoses and food safety relevant infections and contaminations such as residues in food derived from animals).
  • The knowledge of management, handling and behaviour of animals on individual and herd level.
  • The understanding of the effects of animal husbandry systems on the surrounding environment by airborne emissions, manure disposal and spread of diseases (environmental hygiene).
  • The definition of prevention strategies including bio-security measures and disinfection.
  • The promotion of interdisciplinary networks of scientists working in the field of animal hygiene and related areas and the transfer of "cutting-edge" knowledge on animal hygiene to veterinarians, animal scientists, animal producers, physicians and public health professionals as well as to decision makers in agribusiness and politics.

The concept of hygiene integrates in this way the relevant aspects of animal health and welfare in livestock production, ethics, ecology and consumer demands on a sound economic basis. This idea of prevention is valid both for human medicine and veterinary medicine and serves the health postulate of one world and one medicine. (See also ISAH constitution, art.2).

In most areas science has experienced fast developments in recent years, and animal hygiene is not an exception in that regard. Considering the urgent need for a more flexible and frequent exchange of scientific and practical knowledge of professionals in the field of animal hygiene and related areas ISAH plays an increasing role with it's network in more than 50 countries throughout the world.

The International Society for Animal Hygiene can therefore be considered as a group of scientists and practitioners from universities, farming and industry contributing to efficient, sustainable animal farming with healthy animals, providing wholesome food in a sound environment. Veterinarians and non-veterinary academic scientists (animal science, agricultural economics, engineers, microbiologists, public health professionals, epidemiologists) and respective professionals in animal production and agriculture, who work and/or do research, teaching and education in the field of animal hygiene, can apply for a membership of ISAH, and are most welcome to attend ISAH congresses and conferences.

ISAH was founded in 1970 (for details click link to ISAH history) and the first ISAH congress was held in Budapest in 1973. This year in July the 15th ISAH main congress took place in Vienna, Austria hosting 483 registrants. The next main congress is planned in 2013 in Egypt. Candidates for future congresses and in-between symposia are presently Slovakia, China and Mexico.

ISAH is a non-profit science organization. It is driven by an Executive Board (click link to EB) and an Extended Executive Board composed of the ISAH representatives (click list) around the world. Important organisational, financial and constitutional decisions are taken by the General Assembly where all registered members have an equal vote.