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Minister Coveney to publish bill to amend the Veterinary Practise Act 2005

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today announced that he has secured Government approval to publish a Bill to amend the Veterinary Practice Act 2005. The main purpose of the amendment is to ensure that various procedures on animals, which do not require the expertise of a veterinary practitioner or nurse, can continue to be carried out by traditional service providers.

Welcoming the Government decision, Minister Coveney stated "Persons with appropriate skills and training have traditionally looked after various aspects of animals' health and welfare needs, without difficulty, and it is important that there would be no legal doubt about their ability to continue to do so.  The procedures in question, such as bovine hoof trimming, farriery or scanning of cattle and sheep, are important from the point of view of maintaining an animal's well-being and should continue to be carried out under a least cost option. We need to drive and keep down farming costs in the interests of competitiveness and growing the industry, but, of course, in a manner which is consistent with ensuring that animal health and welfare are not compromised".

The Minister added that "it was never intended that the Veterinary Practice Act 2005, which brought regulation of the veterinary profession up to date, would unduly restrict the ability of skilled persons such as farriers or farm-relief personnel, to attend to the on-going and routine needs of animals where the expertise of a veterinary practitioner or a veterinary nurse is not required. We also need to make provision for developing areas of expertise, such as physiotherapy and equine dentistry".

The Minister also drew attention to the fact that this legislative opportunity is being availed of to update and improve the 2005 Act in light of experience with its implementation and to take account of, and ensure consistency with, more recent legislation governing the medical and pharmacy professions, particularly in areas such as fitness to practice procedures and enforcement.

The Minister said that he expected the Bill to be enacted into law in the next Dail session, after which he would adopt detailed regulations setting down the parameters for each exempted practice and the conditions attaching to each practice.

The text of the Bill and associated Regulatory Impact Assessment are available on the Department's website at the following pages:


Link for text of the Bill:


Link for Explanatory Memorandum:


Link for the Regulatory Impact Assessment:

Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) (doc 92Kb) 

Date Released: 02 September 2011