HA NOI (VNS)— Those who produce or trade substandard animal and poultry products will be subject to a fine up to VND200 million (US$9,600).
This will be a rule if a draft decree currently being mapped out by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) is approved.
Agricultural officials hope that the increased fines – up to 10 times higher than the previous levels – will deter farmers and traders from committing acts that harm public health.
Currently, animal health inspectors met many obstacles in detecting violations, said Nguyen Thu Thuy, deputy director of MARD's Animal Health Department.
For example, she said, most violations related to illegal animal products often occur after working hours.
The draft document outlines higher fines for several violations within the sector.
For those who pump water or other substances into animals within 24 hours of slaughter to earn higher profits would be fined VND5-6 million ($230-280).
Experts also said that while the livestock sector had seen steady growth of 7-8 per cent per year, it also faced a number of risks, such as ineffective breed management, which could decrease biological diversity.
However, in a meeting aimed at gathering feedback on the decree, representatives expressed concern about the new levels of punishment.
Director of the Hoa Binh Animal Health Department Nguyen Thanh Ha said that a fine on people who allowed their dogs to wander should be directed at all animal owners, since all creatures should be kept in cages.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director of MARD's Livestock Production Department Nguyen Xuan Duong said some localities thought that the fine of VND50 million ($2,380) was too high. They proposed varying the fine depending on severity, suggesting it range from VND10-50 million ($470-2,380).
Some representatives believed that food vendors should not be fined for selling substandard goods supplied by factories, but Duong replied that vendors should take responsibility for the quality of their products.
Le Ba Lich, chairman of the Viet Nam Feed Association, proposed that regarding the first punishment for both enterprises and manufacturers, their violations should be announced in the media.
"Under the draft decree, the first punishment is a warning, but a fine of a few dozen dong is too low to frighten an enterprise. A firm is only scared by the idea of losing its trademark," he said.
Lich also wondered whether the vaccine manufacturer or the animal health department was responsible for compensating breeders if an animal died after being vaccinated. — VNS