The new Law on Animal Health (the Law), which was passed in June, regulates animal disease prevention and treatment, animal epidemic combat, quarantine of animals and animal products, control of animal slaughter, preliminary processing and processing of animals and animal products. It also provides veterinary sanitation inspection, management of veterinary drugs and veterinary practice. The Law applies to domestic and foreign organizations and individuals involved in animal health activities in Vietnam.
Composed of 116 articles arranged in seven chapters, the Law establishes a number of principles of animal health activities. Accordingly, animal epidemic prevention and combat must first of all rest with owners of domestic animals and animal husbandry or aquaculture establishments. Animal health activities are subject to unified management from the central to local level in order to protect animal health, improve socio-economic efficiency and sustainability of animal husbandry and aquaculture, guarantee food safety, and protect human health and the eco-environment. Disease prevention must be the key, disease treatment must be timely, and epidemic combat must be expeditious.
Animal epidemic prevention and combat
Raising cattle in Ninh Thuan province__Photo: Cong Thu/VNA
The Law devotes Chapter II to providing animal epidemic prevention combat, applying to terrestrial animals and aquatic animals. It has fairly specific provisions on surveillance of animal diseases and epidemics, animal epidemic-free zones and establishments, and containment and elimination of a number of dangerous infectious diseases in animals and zoonotic diseases.
Regarding announcement of animal diseases or epidemics, the Law provides district-level People’s Committee chairpersons’ competence to announce terrestrial animal diseases and epidemics. Specifically, they may decide on announcement of diseases or epidemics that occur in their districts. Provincial-level People’s Committee chairpersons may decide on announcement of animal diseases or epidemics that occur in two or more districts of their provinces. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development may decide on announcement of diseases or epidemics that occur in two or more provinces. A terrestrial animal disease or epidemic will be announced when the conditions prescribed in Clause 2 of Article 26 are met. Within 24 hours after receiving a request for animal disease or epidemic announcement, competent persons mentioned above will decide to make an animal disease or epidemic announcement.
For aquatic animal diseases and epidemics, provincial-level People’s Committee chairpersons may decide on disease or epidemic announcement when there are sufficient conditions prescribed in Clause 2 of Article 34.
Management of veterinary drugs
Under the Law, veterinary drugs must be of quality under technical regulations to be eligible for grant of certificates of free sale in Vietnam.
The Law defines veterinary drugs ineligible for circulation registration, including: (i) Veterinary drugs on the list of veterinary drugs banned from use in Vietnam; (ii) Veterinary drugs with high risk of badly impacting human and animal health and the environment; (iii) Veterinary drugs concluded by competent state agencies to have infringed upon intellectual property rights; (iv) Veterinary drugs registered for circulation by organizations and individuals that have tampered with registration contents or used forged documents and papers in their registration dossiers; and (v) Veterinary drugs registered for circulation by organizations and individuals that have used counterfeit seals, fake signatures or seals of related organizations and individuals in their registration dossiers.
To create transparent conditions for domestic and foreign enterprises manufacturing veterinary drugs in Vietnam, the Law specifies veterinary drugs subject to circulation registration, registration dossier and order and procedures for grant of a certificate of veterinary drug circulation.
The validity duration of a certificate of veterinary drug circulation, a veterinary drug trial permit or a certificate of eligibility for manufacture, trading or import of veterinary drugs is five years.
International cooperation on animal health
The Department of Animal Health will act as the focal point for international cooperation on animal health.
Under Article 11, international cooperation on animal health covers conclusion of, accession to, and implementation of, international agreements and treaties on animal health to which Vietnam is a contracting party; training and development of human resources; scientific research and technology transfer; exchange of information about and experience in animal health; and assistance in resources.
The Law will take effect on July 1 next year and supersede the 2004 Ordinance on Animal Health. Animal health-related permits, licenses and certificates that are granted before its effective date and have not yet expired will remain valid until expiration.- (VLLF)