Dass: 64-year-old Veterinary Surgeons Act no longer adequate for developing profession

Veterinarian Leilani David checks on a dog at the new Pacific Animal Shelter and Hospital Complex in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND/FT FILE

Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Ritesh Dass says the 64-year-old Veterinary Surgeons Act is no longer adequate in regulating a profession that has outgrown its original composition and ideals.

Mr Dass noted this in his opening address at the Legislative Consultation Workshop in Suva last Friday on the review of the Act of 1956.

He says contemporary reality challenged them to reflect maturely and constructively on existing problems – to find solutions that are pragmatic, palatable and enduring to preserve the dignity of a profession whose noble calling is to protect animal life and welfare in the public interest.

“The existence of your association for over 34 years deserves both praise and gratitude in our acknowledgment of your profession’s unfailing commitment to its creed in the devotion of your learning and skills in service of the care and welfare of Fiji’s animal kingdom,” Mr Dass was quoted saying in a Government statement issued today.

“Around 150 names are recorded in the Veterinary Surgeons Register, which is required to be maintained under the 1956 legislation, and unfortunately that register has not been kept up-to-date in terms of the statute.

“That oversight, along with many other anomalies has been discovered during the ministry’s recent reviews of Fiji’s operative laws.”

Mr Dass said the event last week marked an ambitious beginning of a journey “to awaken our sense and sensibility as well as parliamentary slumber on the long-neglected refinement of colonial-era legislation”.

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