Right Name for World Organization
When mad cow disease became a hot issue and candlelit rallies were widely spreading, the media began to refer to the Office International des Epizootics (OIE). It appeared all the Korean media, not only print but also TV stations, uniformly called it that.
However, one day I read, in The Korea Times, a column by a foreigner who was working in Korea as an English teacher and mentioned the World Organization for Animal Health.
For my information I visited the OIE Web site and noticed it had changed its official name to the World Organization for Animal Health in May 2003, although it stated no change in its abbreviated form OIE.
Further I found foreign governments and media commonly used the new name.
When we use the new name, we should be quickly familiarized with it because it is similar to the World Organization of (Human) Health which we have been familiar with for a long time, and the only difference is animal in place of human.
I had the idea that the government press releases would lead to the common use of the new name of the OIE by the media. Hence, thereafter I submitted to the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries a suggestion for the new name.
But it expressed a negative reaction with the reason that an agreement between Korea and the WTO (made before 2003) stated the organization as the Office International des Epizootics, and WTO does not use the new name. It referred me to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) to whom I submitted the suggestion again.
The foreign ministry's position was also negative like the reaction from the agriculture ministry, the only difference was that it does use the new name when it communicates with foreign partners on a case by case scenario or when necessary.
It seems the new name is for foreign use, not for domestic. This felt strange to me as it is commonly used throughout the world, not only by foreign governments but also the media.
I hope more Koreans come to know of the World Organization for Animal Health and have the opportunity to be more attentive to animal health through this new name.