AL AIN // New restrictions on veterinary clinics in Al Ain mean vets are effectively breaking the law when animal emergencies occur outside normal office hours.
Since the end of summer, the clinics were required to be licenced as animal pharmacies and operate during the day only.
But with nowhere else to go, farmers with sick animals are still turning up at the former clinics for after hours help.
The owner of one of the new pharmacies said the private clinics had been an important companion to state-run facilities.
"We are complimentary to government clinics and hospitals, we always have been," he said. "Livestock owners are usually Emirati, and they go to the government hospital for free medicine and treatment."
However, he said, the state clinics were closed at night and during holidays. "What do the locals do then if their camels have a birth complication?"
Other rules affecting the size of the former clinics and limiting the medications they are allowed to carry have angered the vets.
Late last year, the owners of several veterinary pharmacies wrote to the municipality to make their case and ask for help. Two weeks later, they received a reply dismissing their request.
An official from the municipality's inspections department urged the clinics to comply with the rules.