The Veterinary Regulation Directorate (VRD) is mainly responsible to regulate and control all veterinary matters in the territory of Malta. The spectrum of responsibilities and competencies that fall under its remit range from border controls in relation to products of veterinary interest, the regulation and control of production of farm animals in line with animal health and welfare legislation, the control of keeping pet animals, the registration and control of pet shops and all animal establishments including zoos and private collections, registration and licensing of slaughterhouses, production establishments and all establishments that are linked to the food chain.
With regards to animal health and welfare controls, officials from this directorate have a strict regime of controls to follow on all farms that produce products ending up in the food chain. All farms have to pass through rigorous controls in all stages of production to ensure that these are compliant with all animal health and welfare regulations.
As per the border control measures, the Directorate has Border Inspection Posts that control the movement of products of veterinary interest in and out of Malta. These products include both live animals, and here it is ensured that all animals are identified and accompanied by the necessary certification; and also, all food products of animal origin where both documentation and physical checks are done on consignments of veterinary interest as per international protocols in this area.
The Directorate is also responsible for the keeping of pet animals, the registration and control of pet shops and all animal establishments including zoos and private collections. These are all regulated by several local pieces of legislation which together with other EU regulations provide a solid legislative background to control these areas.
The licensing and control of slaughterhouses, food production establishments and all establishments that are directly or indirectly linked to the food chain are all important pillars in the functions of this Directorate, in order to ensure that all food products produced locally arrive at the final consumer safe and free for consumption. Officials from this Directorate carry out controlled visits to all food producing establishments, all of which undergo strict control measures in order to keep their approval status in the positive and continue their operations. Such establishments vary from slaughterhouses, establishments for the further processing of meat products, and cutting and packing establishments. This will ensure that all end products that eventually end up in the retail market have passed through controlled processes of hygiene and have the correct information for the consumers within their labelling.
The Directorate is also responsible for the registration and controls done on feedmills, to control the production of animal feed produced locally. This area controls the primary products used in the manufacture of feeds, ensures that only authorised feed additives are used in the production chain, and also checks that all processes are following established standards in this area. Also, the manufacture and use of medicated feed is controlled up to the use on farm.