Law on Animal Health At the Finish Line

James Reddick / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
A farmer tends to his cow in rural Kampong Cham. Neil Palmer

A draft law seven years in the making to regulate and standardize the Kingdom’s animal health regulations is on the verge of reaching parliament after getting approval from the Council of Ministers on Friday. 

The law is designed to “modernize and standardize [protocols] to protect people’s health, animals’ health, and the environment and prevent communicable diseases from animals and public health,” according to a statement from the Council of Ministers.
 
Tan Phanara, the director of the Animal Health and Production department within the ministry of Agriculture, said the law will bring the country’s animal health regulations up to international standards. The ministry worked with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and Mr. Phanara says the adopted regulations reflect OIE’s international guidelines.   

“We want to monitor from the start until finish,” Mr. Phanara said. “Currently we don’t closely monitor veterinary medicine and the movement of the medicine within the country and of medicine into the country. With this law, we can control the quality of feed and the quality of medicine.” 

Under the law, vaccinations remain voluntary, but the ministry would take a more active approach in cracking down on the companies selling products related to veterinary health.  

Coming just a month before Asean Economic Integration at the end of the year, the legislation also sets standards for imports of livestock from neighboring countries, while trying to ensure that Cambodian exports meet regional standards.
 
“It’s not only to serve animal health and production in Cambodia, but also to help to smooth the transition to regional integration,” said Agriculture Ministry spokesman Ieng Sophaleth.
 
Cambodia’s pig farming business association says that there is demand for as much as 200,000 swine per month, and more than 1,000 cross the border from Vietnam and Thailand every month. The industry is still recovering from a recent outbreak of “blue-ear pig disease”, which sickened more than 4,000 animals. The new law is designed in part to lower the risk of such scares in the future. 

Mr. Phanara says that the draft will undergo several small tweaks before reaching the legislature for a vote, which he hopes will happen by the end of the month.  

“This law is good for the farmer and good for animal production.”

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