Veterinary Surgeons Act under review

June 29, 2020

The importance of having fully operational Veterinarians in Fiji was relayed to veterinary professionals from all over Fiji to join hands in embarking on reviewing the 64 year old statute which governs Fiji’s veterinarians.  

The Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Mr. Ritesh Dass highlighted while opening the Legislative Consultation Workshop on the review of the Veterinary Surgeons Act of 1956 at Holiday Inn, Suva on Friday last week.

“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.”

“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,” said Mr. Dass.

Mr. Dass emphasized the Ministry’s constitutional duty to “provide reasonable opportunity for public participation in the development and review of the law before it is made” can only be fulfilled by our constructive engagement with the profession and the community it serves to ensure everyone is given a say in the design and making of our veterinary laws.

He said today’s programme is the 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.

"The Veterinary Surgeons Act is no longer adequate in regulating a profession that has outgrown its original composition and ideals," Mr. Dass said.

He said contemporary reality challenges all of us to reflect maturely and constructively on existing problems to find solutions which 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.