Rules:  Livestock rules and regulations of 2008 are out dated and need urgent revision, Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) officials say.

A three-day workshop to revise the rules and regulations attended by more than 45 livestock inspectors from across the country concluded yesterday.

Their recommendations have to go through the legal unit of the agriculture ministry and to receive endorsement of the ministry.

BAFRA officials said the revision was long overdue.

The officials discussed challenges they face while implementing Livestock Rules and Regulations of Bhutan 2008 and recommended solutions to overcome them.

“With the globalisation of trade, people are moving animal species and animal products at unprecedented rates across countless borders which lead to transboundary movement of dangerous diseases,” BAFRA regulatory and quarantine deputy chief Dr Chador Wangdi said.

“It is also to keep the officials abreast of the new developments in areas of animal biosecurity and veterinary public health regulatory measures taking place at national, regional and international levels.”

Livestock regulatory and quarantine officials are responsible to implement animal bio-security measures and inspection and certification of foods of animal origin.

Inspectors said that such movements pose increasing challenges to regulatory agencies to effectively protect health and life of animals.

The inspectors recommended raising the fees and penalties for offences under the rules and regulations.

They proposed a total ban of meat items during the first and fourth Bhutanese months.

“The commercial centres should not store or sell meat items during these months,” the proposal read. Violating this proposed provision could earn a heavy penalty.

“The rules were endorsed eight years ago, since then there has been so much inflation and the amount is not even enough to cover paper costs of receipts,” Dr Chador Wangdi said.

He said that it was also important for BAFRA officials to stay abreast with new and evolving scientific understanding of diseases and trade requirements and proportionate evolvement in regulatory regime and requirements.

The workshop also provided a forum for officials to exchange experiences, discuss practical problems faced while implementing the rules and find solutions to the problems.

Agriculture minister Yeshey Dorji said that it was imperative that the officials know the rules.

“You should be able to convince the public why certain things are illegal and gain their cooperation for the good of the society,” he said.

Tshering Palden