Missouri veterinary law - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 03-30-2013, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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Missouri veterinary law

• Current Missouri law makes it illegal for any non-veterinarian to accept any form of compensation for changing an animal’s physical or mental condition.*
• Any non-veterinarian who changes an animal’s physical or mental condition is guilty of a separate class A misdemeanor for each individual animal they work with.
• A class A misdemeanor is punishable by a $1,000 fine and one year in prison.
• The Missouri Veterinary Medical Board has not offered any explanation limiting what it means to alter an animal’s physical or mental condition.
• In fact, the Veterinary Medical Board has stated that it can target non-veterinarians assisting livestock owners with animal husbandry practices such as hoof-trimming, horseshoeing, branding, castrating, dehorning, tail-docking, birthing, and artificially inseminating their animals.
• Under this interpretation of the law, it is illegal for any non-veterinarian to earn a living as a farrier or for hired hands to work livestock.
• At this very moment, the Veterinary Medical Board is attempting to deprive Brooke Gray, a horse teeth floater from Holt, Missouri, of her livelihood and her freedom—even though she’s never injured an animal and she’s never received a complaint from the horse owners she’s helped.
• The Veterinary Medical Board’s use of the law means that livestock owners would be required to either handle these animal husbandry tasks by themselves or to hire licensed veterinarians to perform them.
• Not only would this make working livestock far more expensive, but due to Missouri’s shortage of large-animal vets, it might be impossible for livestock owners to find vets to provide these services when they need them.
• The Freedom Center of Missouri is fighting in the courts and at the State Capitol to protect Missourians’ right to earn a living in harmless professions!
*An animal’s owner or a full-time employee of the owner may change that animal’s physical or mental condition, although the law says that “only a licensed veterinarian may immunize or treat an animal for diseases which are communicable to humans and which are of public health significance[.]”
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post #2 of 27 Old 03-30-2013, 09:46 PM
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Wow there must be a whole pile of people working under the table in Missouri
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post #3 of 27 Old 03-30-2013, 09:48 PM
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post #4 of 27 Old 03-30-2013, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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One could wait a long time for a vet to come and trim/shoe your horses as it's hard enough getting them to come for an emergency. I haven't met a vet yet who wanted to do farrier work. There's more money in the cat and dog part of the practise.
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post #5 of 27 Old 03-30-2013, 09:57 PM
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Interesting. I know we use to have a guy who did a wonderful job of floating our horses teeth for $50 per horse and I had heard that he could no longer do it because of this law. I wonder what those of us in MO would do to have our horses hooves trimmed or horses shod? I don't see myself doing it or my vet for that matter.
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post #6 of 27 Old 03-30-2013, 10:04 PM
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post #7 of 27 Old 03-30-2013, 10:29 PM
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"On October 17, 2007, the Board informed Ms. Gray that providing equine dental services for compensation, without a Missouri veterinary license, violated Missouri law...the Attorney General filed a petition on behalf of the Board and against Ms. Gray to enjoin Ms. Gray from practicing equine dentistry or administering medication to animals for valuable consideration. On September 26 and 27, 2011, the circuit court heard the matter and, on December 21, 2011, issued a judgment enjoining and prohibiting Ms. Gray from performing equine tooth floating or any other act constituting the practice of veterinary dentistry for compensation in Missouri. Ms. Gray appeals...

...Our legislature has defined "veterinary medicine" as including animal "dentistry." § 340.200(28). Ms. Gray does not deny that she engaged in equine dentistry and practiced under the trade name B & B Equine Dentistry but argues that the State cannot constitutionally prohibit her from profiting from her practice per the gains of industry clause....

...Ms. Gray also argues that her prohibition from engaging in equine dentistry without a license violates her constitutional right to enjoy the gains of her industry because her skills may exceed those of licensed veterinarians, which suggests that the prohibition is irrational. Ms. Gray's skills may well be exceptional. "However, when the legislature has spoken on the subject, the courts must defer to its determinations of public policy." Budding v. SSM Healthcare System, 19 S.W.3d 678, 682 (Mo. banc 2000). Taken to its logical end, Ms. Gray asks us to conclude that anyone with competency should be able to publicly perform, on animals, invasive and complex surgical procedures, prescribe and administer drugs and anesthesia, etc. Yet, how is such competency to be proven so as to protect the public health and safety? Our legislature has chosen licensure as a means of regulating competency, and our courts have upheld the rationality of this choice...

...Here, while Ms. Gray assumes section 340.200(28) includes farriers, the statute does not explicitly reference farriery or horseshoeing...This could be why the Board has not pursued farriers. Ms. Gray's evidence at trial shows that the Missouri Veterinary Medical Board has not solely targeted equine tooth floaters...Along with those practicing equine dentistry, the board acknowledged sending letters to individuals engaged in estrus synchronization, heat detection, dehorning, castration, artificial insemination, vaccination, spaying/neutering, emergency services, embryo transfer, herd work, and massage...The fact that farriery and horseshoeing is an age-old practice, and yet the legislature did not expressly include the practice in section 340.200(28), suggests that the legislature intended the exclusion..."

Sounds like you have a problem with the legislature. The court has no business rewriting the law, and it is kind of nice to see a court follow that rule for a change.

It looks to me like this applies to businesses, not to individuals working on a ranch.
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post #8 of 27 Old 03-30-2013, 10:32 PM
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Thanks for the clarification!
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post #9 of 27 Old 03-30-2013, 10:43 PM
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I have used B&B for floating for years until recently. I also know the veterinarian who started this court case. It's a small world here as they are both in my county. The vet's issue is that Brooke uses sedation and if a horse got in trouble she is not licensed or formally trained in what to do. The vets get these calls and have to deal with the emergency that might exist. In a very diplomatic way I've been warned by 2 vets that see my equines that if one of mine had a reaction to the IV sedation that she uses, they might die because I'm so far from the vet's and they couldn't get here in time. I'm not saying that Brooke got into trouble with her sedations, but in her many years of practicing she apparently had at least one vet call. So, in typical legislators' way, they wrote this law in such a way that the Court's opinion created more questions than answers. I do not think they are going to 'go after' farriers here in Missouri. I have never heard of farriers using sedation and that's what got the vet concerned. My vet says that there is no Missouri licensing by the Board for equine dentistry or anything else along those lines, so has been wide open to practitioners who want to hang out a shingle. As I said earlier, Brooke has treated my horses and I thought she did a great job. My vet says she is skilled, perhaps more experienced than some vets in the dentistry services. It's a shame that we can't figure out a way to license her and for her to be able to safely do her job without sedation -- a win-win.

I do think that there are chiropractors who are treating horses, who are not veterinarians or trained on equines. I think that if I were one of those chiros I would be very careful.
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post #10 of 27 Old 03-30-2013, 10:49 PM
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Whaat.. Farrier ? seriously, no VEt here wants to do farrier work ! My Vets have sold me the vaccines for me to inject . I thought there were to many laws and rules in California !! MO takes the cake on that..
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