The veterinarians of America are at it again trying to remove competition even when it is for the greater good and in the interests of cat welfare and health. It is ludicrous and damaging to the reputation of what should be a respected profession.
The veterinarians of Alabama have failed in their unethical attempt to stop nonprofit organizations carrying out low cost spay and neuter operations. The intention must have been to remove competition at the expense of the lives of cats. The application to change the law failed because the Alabama Veterinary Medical Examiners Board did not have the authority to change the law. The proposal was a rule change preventing the state’s nonprofit spay-and-neuter clinics from operating.
In my opinion, this was a terrible thing to try and achieve. Nonprofit organizations do really valuable work in providing low cost spay and neuter. They save the lives of cats in their hundreds, perhaps thousands; lives that vets don’t have the capacity to save. Nonprofit costs for spay and neuter are $45 to $65 whereas veterinarians charge $200 sometimes.
The silly thing about this proposal or application is that I don’t think the nonprofit organisations are competing with the veterinarians. Firstly the vets don’t have the capacity to do all the neutering that the nonprofit organistions do. Secondly, it seems to me that some of the cats that are spayed and neutered are probably trapped as strays or feral cats. If I am correct they fall outside of the operation of veterinarians. The vets working for nonprofit organisations can and are willing to work in parallel with vets in the commercial sector in the interests of animal welfare. Vets should not be competing like this to the detriment of animals’ health.
An interesting aspect of this attempt to remove so called competition is that we don’t really know who made the proposal or application to change the rules. The Alabama Veterinary Medical Association said they did not push for a rule change. They say the Alabama Veterinary Medical Examiners Board made the proposal to themselves. But as far as I can tell they have not admitted to that. The stories in the press don’t report that anyway.
The Board’s legal adviser had advised the board that they were attempting to change the law, which they can’t do. It was probably as straightforward as that at the end of the day. This shows not only a level of unethical behavior but an ignorance of the law. And why was there a public hearing when the legal advice was against the whole thing?
The meeting was packed with supporters of nonprofit spay and neuter. The spokespersons for organisations such as Greater Birmingham Humane Society were cheered when they made the point that they did not have the authority to make what was in effect new law.
This failed attempt brings to mind earlier behavior that I would also regard as unethical when veterinary associations defended the right of their members to declaw cats. The one thing they never mention is that declawing cats and devocalising dogs is a clear breach of a veterinarian’s oath, a declaration that is at the core of a vet’s work.