SEOUL, May 30 (Korea Bizwire) – The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs revealed on May 18 that it plans to implement an ‘animal nurse’ policy, in which non-veterinarian assistants perform basic medical treatments such as blood gathering and teeth scaling.
The goal of the plan is to strengthen animal welfare as well as push job creation.
Ministry officials explained that the increasing number of domestic animals and pet owners is creating higher demand for medical treatment, and as such the policy could lead to the creation of more jobs.
The ministry plans to implement the policy as soon as possible, and is currently consulting with various organizations in terms of the scope of work that nurses will undertake, and the conditions for their eligibility.
However, the policy is facing strong opposition from veterinarians.
As of Monday, some 40 organizations across the country, including the Seoul Veterinary Medical Association, the Korean Society of Feline Medicine, and student groups from multiple veterinary colleges had signed an opposition movement.
The groups claim that implementing the policy without proper preparations will bring about negative side effects, including unlawful medical treatment, and aggravate the overall state of animal welfare.
They also refuted government claims of creating 3,000 jobs by implementing the policy.
“The government hastily announced a matter that needs further discussion, only to emphasize job creation,” said an official from the Korean Animal Hospital Association. “I don’t see how handing out nurse licenses can create jobs when there are already assistants at animal hospitals.”
Director Kim Hui-yool of Konkuk University’s animal hospital, said, “It is not likely for the policy to create new jobs. Instead, it will only benefit private veterinary academies.”
By Kevin Lee (email@example.com)