Spay-neuter bill passes Alabama Legislature - DVM
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Spay-neuter bill passes Alabama Legislature
Controversial bill would allow veterinarians to be employed by nonprofit facilities in the state.


Other parties, however, have been much more deliberate in taking a position. Groups such as Alabama Voters for Responsible Animal Legislation (AVRAL) have been campaigning in favor of HB 156 for weeks, gathering support from like-minded members of the general public and Alabama's veterinary community through social media channels.

In addition to asking supporters to contact their state representatives and senators to vote in favor of HB 156, the has group posted a letter from Robert Pitman, DVM, an Alabama State Board of Veterinary Examiners (ASBVE) board member. In the letter, as posted by AVRAL on Facebook, Pitman states, "The ASBVE adamantly opposes this legislation that would allow every 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization to own a clinic, such as humane societies, rescue groups, volunteer fire department, wild turkey federation, bingo club, etc. This is certainly not in the best interest of the pet-owning public." ASBVE did not respond to phone calls or emails requesting comment.

Additionally, the Birmingham News, recently published an editorial piece on in support of HB 156, stating, "As the law exists, a licensed veterinarian must own any clinic in which veterinary services are performed. That's ridiculous, and is clearly intended to suppress competition. A licensed physician doesn't have to own the hospital in which he works. A licensed dentist doesn't have to own the dental practice where he works. A licensed pharmacist doesn't have to own the pharmacy where he works." The editorial board has called on the state Legislature's Sunset Committee, which will review the Alabama Board of Veterinary Examiners next year, 'to take a close look at how the board operates, how it conducts its meetings, its leadership and its interference with progressive legislation that would make the lives of animals better and help pet owners be more responsible.' The editorial goes on to say, "It can cost as much as $300 or more to have an animal sterilized at a private veterinary clinic, while a nonprofit spay/neuter clinic can do the surgery for about $45 to $80. There's plenty of business to go around, because Alabama has an unhealthy overpopulation of dogs and cats."

And while the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has not weighed in on the bill, its recently adopted policy on the delivery of veterinary services by nonprofit organizations points out the benefits that these kinds of groups provide to underserved pet owners and society in general, stating, "Veterinary not-for-profit and tax-exempt clinics and hospitals provide access to important medical and surgical services for animals owned by the indigent and otherwise underserved populations. Without such charitable services, these animal owners would find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to care for their animals appropriately. Improved access to care not only helps ensure that the welfare of animals is protected, but also helps address public health concerns that may be associated with preventable zoonotic diseases, such as rabies. In addition, many not-for-profit organizations, including community animal shelters and animal control agencies, provide a benefit to society through rescuing, sheltering, rehabilitating and finding good homes for animals."

HB 156 is currently in a conference committee in the Alabama Legislature.


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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