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Gov to align Animal Health Act with international standards

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Gov to align Animal Health Act with international standards


Brilliant Mukaro/Ndhiyase Mlambo


MASVINGO – Government, through the Department of Veterinary Services is working on aligning the Animal Health Act (AHA) with international standards.

A consultative stakeholders workshop held at the Chevron Hotel in Masvingo on Monday heard that AHA is outdated and causing problems like authorisation of veterinary diagnostic laboratories for conducting tests.

The Veterinary Services Department is holding the consultative meetings throughout the country which are sponsored by the UNDP.

The meeting was attended by the Police, Vet officers, traditional leaders and representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture.

Important issues raised for alignment include legislation on controlling specific animal diseases, regulations for trade in animals and animal products and management of diseases diagnostic laboratory services.

Waniwa said the review will align the local laws to the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) and the  Terrestrial Animal Health Code.

WOAH is an organisation that work across borders to improve animal health and welfare by collecting, analysing and disseminating veterinary scientific information and sets statutes in supporting and promoting animal disease control.

Terrestrial Animal Health Code is an international organisation that implements improvement of animal health and welfare as well as public health. National Veterinary authorities use it to provide for early detection of pathogens and to prevent the transfer of diseases through international trade in animals.

Veterinary Services Department’s diagnostics and research officer, Emily Waniwa added that the Animal Health Act causes overlaps of authority for example the issue of food safety in which the directorate of veterinary services, Environmental Health Officers from the Ministry of Health and child care are all involved in registering slaughter facilities and inspection of meat for export which cause bureaucracies.

The workshop also noted inconsistencies in the use of certain terms in the Act and proposed a revision of this. Generally the quality of the Act needed to be improved, noted the workshop.

“We are doing this review so as to align the Animal Health Act with international   standards after it was observed that our act has become outdated and had some gaps as well as some terms that were not well explained,” said Waniwa.


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