Dubai: Veterinary medicine professionals in the UAE must get a licence from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) in order to avoid hefty fines and prison time, according to a new federal law issued on Sunday.
The Federal Law No. (8) of 2017 was issued by UAE President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan amending certain provisions of Federal Law No. (10) of 2002, concerning the practise of the veterinary medicine profession.
The move aims to regulate veterinary medicine and support services, enhance the efficiency of the profession in line with best practices and international standards, and safeguard the health of livestock and other animals in the country.
“According to Article 19 of the law, a penalty of not less than one year imprisonment and a fine of minimum Dh10,000 and maximum Dh200,000 shall be imposed on all those who practise the veterinary medicine profession or support services without a licence. The same terms apply in the event of submitting incorrect documents or data, or using illegal methods to obtain the licence. They also apply in the case of unlicensed practitioners using signage or any other promotional materials to induce others to believe they have the right to practice the veterinary medicine profession or support services,” the new law states.
Similarly, the owner of an establishment that employs a veterinarian or support staff without the required licence shall also pay a fine ranging between Dh10,000 and Dh200,000. The article adds that the court may decide to close such an establishment, terminate its licence, and confiscate its equipment and supplies.
Just the same, those who establish a veterinary facility without a licence will be imprisoned with a fine of Dh20,000 to Dh200,000. The same penalty applies in the event of obtaining a license through illegal channels.
While every practitioner of the veterinary medicine profession or support services is required to register at the MOCCAE, a temporary licence may be granted in accordance with the terms and conditions determined by the executive regulations of the law.
Amendments to the 2002 law include replacing the word ‘profession’ with ‘veterinary medicine profession’, as well as appointing the MOCCAE as the concerned authority to approve applications for permits to practice the veterinary medicine profession and support services within 30 days from the date of submission.
The new law also appointed the ministry to establish a general register of veterinarians and support veterinary service professions. The register will include separate sub-registers for doctors working in veterinary clinics, doctors working in veterinary diagnostic laboratories, employees of animal production farms, employees of veterinary pharmacies and drug stores, veterinarians working in public health departments of local authorities, veterinary assistants and veterinary technicians.
Additionally, the new law stipulates that the initial approval for the establishment is subject to a ministerial decision. The final licence shall be obtained from the concerned authority in accordance with its regulations.
Meanwhile, Article 8 of the law states that criminal action shall not be initiated for the crimes covered by this law without a written notice from the ministry or another concerned authority. Select cases may be settled out of court with a fine not exceeding half of the maximum limit for each crime.
In the event of violating any provision of this law or its executive regulations, the MOCCAE or the head of the concerned authority or authorised representative may initiate disciplinary sanctions against the practitioner of the veterinary medicine profession.
The sanctions include a warning, closure of the practice for a period not exceeding one year, or withdrawal of the licence and striking the company off MOCCAE’s register. The minister or the authorised representative may also impose administrative sanctions including a warning or closure of the facility for a period not exceeding six months.
Employees appointed by a decision of the Minister of Justice in agreement with the Minister of Climate Change and Environment or the head of another concerned authority have the capacity of judicial officers to prove violations of the provisions of this law and issue decisions in its implementation.
Treatment for animals
When it comes to handling animals, Article 14 of the updated law, states that unlicensed veterinary hospitals or clinics are not allowed to admit animals for treatment, and will be subjected to a fine of Dh10,000 to Dh150,000.
Veterinarians may only conduct experiments or research on animals after obtaining a permit from MOCCAE. Practitioners who violate the provision will face imprisonment and a fine ranging from Dh50,000 to Dh500,000.
“Article 15 states that the veterinarian must explain the expected results of the proposed treatment to the owner of the animal. The owner has the right to accept or decline treatment unless the animal has an infectious or epidemic disease. In case of surgery, the veterinarian should obtain a written consent statement from the owner,” it states.
Every veterinarian establishment is required to maintain records of names and addresses of owners, types of animals and their medical history as well as identification numbers, if any. Exports of animal diagnostic samples are prohibited without a permit from the ministry, and violators will face imprisonment and a fine of Dh50,000 to Dh1 million.
Similarly, a fine of Dh10,000 to Dh100,000 shall be imposed on every veterinarian who fails to report epidemic diseases to MOCCAE or another concerned authority.
As per Article 4 of the Federal Law No. (8) of 2017, any provision contradicting the provisions of this law shall be annulled. The law shall be published in the Official Gazette and shall come into effect a day after its publication.