Here are a list of important points demonstrating the risks that occupational licensing poses to the practice of traditional animal husbandry in the state of Missouri:
• 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[.]”