January 31, 2023
New animal health bill in Gambia to address shortfalls in dealing with animal diseases
A bill, known as the Animal Health Bill 2020, was recently presented in The Gambia to the country's Joint Committee on Agriculture and Health of the National Assembly for review.
The presentation was delivered by the West Africa Livestock Innovation Center (WALIC) and the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI).
Dr.Demba Trawelleh, deputy director of NARI, said the Veterinary Services (VS) of The Gambia, which is mandated to prevent and control livestock diseases in the country's national herds and other health-related matters, has been "struggling to meet its functions, within the confines of the other obsolete Diseases of Animals Act, 1944".
According to Dr. Trawalleh, the act has become obsolete in the face of a rapidly changing world, in terms of priority needs, climate change and meeting food safety, food security and compliance with international standards.
The animal health bill is out to address these uncertainties and future developments in an adequate way, Dr. Trawalleh told the committee, adding that it also underpins an extensive review of the Diseases of Animals Act, 1944, considering complex interactions between socio-economic factors, political developments, climate change and the global context with the objective of producing a new robust version in the face of a changing livestock sub-sector and climate.
The advocated Animal Health Bill, 2020, currently being reviewed by NAMs, has a holistic approach to disease control, food safety, international trade in livestock, farmer compensation and regulation of the importation, production and composition of livestock drugs and feed.
Dr. Trawalleh said: "The bill, if enacted and its provisions properly implemented, will improve both animal and human health, increase our national herd population and enable the sub-sector generate the much-needed foreign currency from the sale of livestock and livestock products beyond our borders."
Dr. Trawalleh added that Botswana and Namibia are among thefew countries in Africa that have free access to the European market for their livestock and livestock products, mainly because of the animal health policies pursued by their respective governments.
- The Point