The UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued the Federal Law No. (8) of 2017, amending certain provisions of the Federal Law No. (10) of 2002 concerning the practice of the veterinary medicine profession.
The move aims to regulate the field of 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.
Articles 1 and 2 of the new law replace the word ‘profession’ with ‘veterinary medicine profession’. Furthermore, the law updates the name of the concerned authority to the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE).
As per the provisions of the law, every practitioner of the veterinary medicine profession or support services must be duly registered and licensed by MOCCAE. A temporary license may be granted in accordance with the terms and conditions determined by the executive regulations of the law.
Article 5 of the amended law appoints the Ministry 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.
Article 7 states that the Ministry shall 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.
Article 10 of the law stipulates that the initial approval for the establishment is subject to a ministerial decision. The final license shall be obtained from the concerned authority in accordance with its regulations.
According to Article 19, without prejudice to any more severe penalty provided for in any other law, a penalty of not less than one year imprisonment and a fine of minimum AED10,000 and maximum AED200,000 shall be imposed on all those who practice the veterinary medicine profession or support services without a license. The same terms apply in the event of submitting incorrect documents or data, or using illegal methods to obtain the license, as well as 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 owner of the establishment that employs a veterinarian or support staff without the required license shall also pay a fine ranging between AED10,000 and AED200,000. The article adds that the court may decide to close such establishment, terminate its license, and confiscate its equipment and supplies.
Those who establish a veterinary facility without license will be imprisoned with a fine of AED20,000 to AED200,000. The same penalty applies in the event of obtaining a license through illegal channels.
Article 8 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. The article clearly outlines the terms of such settlement.
The Minister of Climate Change and Environment or the head of the concerned authority or his authorized representative may initiate disciplinary sanctions against the practitioner of the veterinary medicine profession in the event of violating any provision of this law or its executive regulations. The sanctions include a warning, closure of the practice for a period not exceeding one year, or withdrawal of the license and striking the company off MOCCAE’s register. The Minister or his authorized representative may also impose administrative sanctions including a warning or closure of the facility for a period not exceeding six months.
Article 22 stipulates that 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.
As per Article 14 of the updated law, unlicensed veterinary hospitals or clinics are not allowed to admit animals for treatment, subject to a fine of AED10,000 to AED150,000. Furthermore, 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 AED50,000 to AED500,000.
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.
Article 17 stipulates that every veterinarian establishment must 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. Violators will face imprisonment and a fine of AED50,000 to AED1 million. In addition, a fine of AED10,000 to AED100,000 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 on the next day of its publication.