The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine will continue its detailed scrutiny of the Veterinary Practice (Amendment) Bill 2021.

Representatives from both the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) and the Veterinary Council of Ireland (VCI) will be present at the meeting.

The purpose of the bill is to amend the Veterinary Practice Act 2005 in order to make statutory provisions to prohibit ownership of veterinary practices by persons, other than a veterinary practitioner, in this bill referred to as ‘eligible veterinary practitioners’.

The Veterinary Practice Act 2005 currently allows ownership of veterinary practices by persons other than veterinary practitioners.

The sponsor of this private members’ bill is Fianna Fáil TD Jackie Cahill.

Speaking in advance of the meeting, deputy Cahill, who is also the committee chair, said: “The bill ensures that veterinary practices can only be in the ownership of licenced vets, thus preventing private corporations from having undue control of the sector.

“The ‘creeping’ effect needs to be prevented from happening, this is where large corporate entities takeover veterinary practices one by one without any objections.

“It is crucial that there are robust regulations to stop this and that they are enforced; practices need to be owned by licenced veterinarians.”

The committee began its scrutiny of the bill last month.

The Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine has 14 members, nine from the Dáil and five from the Seanad.

The meeting will be broadcast from Committee Room 3 of Leinster House at 5:30p.m today (Wednesday, October 20).