Those caught using banned chemicals at breeding farms could be fined US$2,880, while using them in animal feed would be punishable by $4,800, according to a proposal by Vietnam's agriculture ministry.
The draft, introduced at a February 26 conference, suggested that cash penalties between VND50 and 100 million ($2,400-4,800) be imposed for the use of illegal chemicals in the production of animal feed.
It said individual farmers can be fined between VND10 and 20 million for using illegal chemicals, while breeding businesses would face fines three times that amount.
According to the draft, breeders would be required to keep raising the animals and only sell them or have them slaughtered once tests have been conducted proving that no traces of banned substances are left.
Butchering or trading animal products with the substances would be punishable by VND10 to 20 million in fines, and VND8 to 10 million would be the fine issued to vendors caught using illegal preservatives, the proposal said.
Vietnam does not allow the use of growth hormones in animal husbandry, but specific punishments have yet to be established.
Police in southern Vietnam last March confirmed the findings of an investigative report by Thanh Nien, which said that livestock farmers in Dong Nai province a major pork and pig supplier to neighboring Ho Chi Minh City were drugging their pigs with steroids containing beta-agonist, a growth-promoting agent.
Pork purchases in the city dropped by 40 to 60 percent following the news, but the scandal was soon forgotten and pork consumption resumed to normal levels.
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