The Association of Veterinary Medicine Faculties of eight Indonesian universities has urged the Government to appoint a Deputy Minister of Agriculture from among veterinarians. This senior official will be assigned to deal with veterinary affairs based on Law No. 18 Year 2009.
â€œThis will allow highest decision making in technical veterinary health based on veterinary professionalism,â€ said the Dean of the Faculty, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Prof. Dr. drh. Bambang Sumiarto, S.U., M.Sc., and his counterpart from IPB, Dr. I Wayan T. Wibawan, M.S., D.V.M., representing other Deans, Thursday evening (29/10). Also attending were the Head of the Indonesian Veterinarians Association (PB PDHI), Drh. Wiwiek Bagja, and a member of the Veterinarian Education Council, Prof Dr. drh. Agus Lelana, in the Auditorium of the Faculty.
â€œThe Government needs this Deputy Minister for the betterment of agriculture, i.e animal products, and veterinary health,â€ said drh. Wiwiek Bagja. In her opinion, to protect the community from the threats of Avian Influenza, swine flu, rabies and other cases, a system of structure and authority should be made. This system should be supported by the central leadership down to the regional leadership. â€œIsn't it time to increase veterinary capacity to resolve this case?â€ she was asking.
She regretted that up to now the Government has not managed the structure and authority of veterinary affairs. Despite the Law No. 18 Year 2009 on animal farms and veterinary health, concerns that arise are that the Law would not be enacted by the Government soon.
Wiwiek continued that Article VII Paragraph 68 of the Law says that the management of veterinary health across Indonesia should be handled by veterinary authorities. To carry out this task, the Government has established the National Veterinary Health System. â€œThe Minister can delegate the task to the veterinary authorities for them to take part in the efforts to realise the national veterinary health,â€ she said.
Agus Lelana stated that the new Law on Veterinary Health has opened an opportunity for veterinarians to take up the position of a deputy minister. â€œVeterinary health issues should be equalised with those that are handled by Health Minister. We have none (of this position) in Agricultural Ministry, (there should be one) at Echelon 1 at least,â€ he said.
Bambang Sumiarto said that current veterinary health issues are handled by a veterinary health director or at least the Veterinary Directorate General is existing. â€œWe had tackled the foot and mouth disease as there were clear direction and authorities at that time. Especially, during the New Order, President Soeharto was interested in animals, so he gave bigger attention,â€ he added.
I Wayan T. Wibawan said that the unclear authorities in the management of food from animals has made Indonesia dependent on imported meat and milk. Even much of agricultural production equipment is still imported. â€œIt is despicable that a country relying on food does not give serious attention to this. Let's not lose patriotism, and we have no national pride as a country,â€ he ended.