Veterinary practioners whose licences are revoked but continue to practice and in the process cause death to animals or humans face a seven-year jail sentence, or fine of Shs10 million, or both.
This is contained in the Veterinary Practitioners’ Bill 2023, passed by Parliament during plenary sitting on Wednesday, 30 August 2023 chaired by Speaker Anita Among.
The Chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Janet Okori-Moe, said that the jail sentence was moved from two years to seven years to act as a deterrent.
“Causing death or endangering humans or animals should carry a more punitive punishment,” she said.
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (Animal Industry), Hon. Bright Rwamirama, agreed, saying that the seven years is adequately deterrent.
The Bill further imposes a penalty of Shs5 million against a registered practitioner where a practitioner is found culpable of professional misconduct.
The Bill also requires all private veterinary practitioners to register with the Veterinary Council, and issued licences while public practitioners will be exempted from being licenced.
Okori-Moe had proposed an amendment to have public veterinary practitioners also licenced.
“It is essential for all practitioners to be licenced for purposes of disciplinary action in case of misconduct,” she said.
Rwamirama, however, said that government veterinary practitioners will be exempted from being licenced since they are working for government.
“They are employed by government, and they are public officers. So even when you say they pay, it is still government that is going to pay,” he said.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs (Regional Affairs), Hon. John Mulimba, said that such privileges apply to all professional practitioners in public offices.
Bugiri Municipality Member of Parliament, Hon. Asuman Basalirwa, said that those are some of the entitlements enjoyed by public officers.
The Bill seeks to provide an institutional framework for regulation of veterinary practice by providing for the training, registration, licensing of veterinary professionals and veterinary paraprofessionals.
The law also aims at improving the quality of veterinary services and revise fines for offences committed under the Act.