The founders of the association recognised the need for an association that could provide a forum not only for those investing in the industry but of equal importance those wishing to purchase ostrich products.
An email received by the secretary in September 2011 was questioning why the association has not done more to promote the industry in their country.
A trade association can only actively promote an industry when mandated to do so by the members and funded by those members to provide that promotion within any given area. Clearly significant funds are required for such promotions. With our industry as small as it is, such funding is simply not yet available.
The association is mandated to provide standards. Guideline standards enable our producers to determine if they are achieving commercially acceptable (and viable) standards and our customers can use as guide lines to assess the quality of the products presented to them when purchasing.
The WOA industry standards are generic standards that provide guidelines. Individual companies operating to best practice can set their standards even higher to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Another question asked by this writer: “Is there any information on the banning of ostrich production on the grounds of welfare and/or conservation”. Some countries including India have been hesitant to licence the importation of ostrich on a commercial scale on welfare grounds. This concern is generally driven through lack of knowledge and based on factual observations from the history of domesticated ostrich production in many areas, where poor practices have been implemented. The welfare issues relate to lack of knowledge and poor advice, rather than wilful intent or the ostrich’s unsuitability for commercial domestication. They are in fact a species that is well suited to domestication in many climates provided the management is of adequate standards.
Regarding conservation, Ostrich were under threat of extinction from over hunting for their feathers until they were domesticated around 1820 onwards. Ostrich are not listed under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), so their products can be traded freely around the world subject to individual country’s veterinary health and trading regulations.