Florida Alliance for Animal Owners Rights

FAAOR

The Florida Alliance for Animal Owners Rights (FAAOR) recognizes that there are many health care services provided for animals. Not all of them require the knowledge, expertise, or training that comes with a degree in veterinary medicine. FAAOR believes that animal owners should be allowed, by law, to choose the kind and type of service providers for their animals.

FAAOR

Communications and Resources

FAAOR

View Florida State Statutes 2007 - Veterinary Medical Practice - Chapter 474 and other articles regarding health care choices for your animal.



Calendar

FAAOR

No events currently scheduled.

Join Us

FAAOR

Membership Dues are $25 a year for Regular Member (Animal Owner/Interested Individual) or $100 per year for Associate Member (Interested Business/Association)

Join FAAOR

Members Only

FAAOR

CLICK HERE to log into Members Only Section of FAAOR.



faaor 
The Florida Alliance for Animal Owners Rights (FAAOR) recognizes that there are many health care services provided for animals. Not all of them require the knowledge, expertise, or training that comes with a degree in veterinary medicine. FAAOR believes that animal owners should be allowed, by law, to choose the kind and type of service providers for their animals.
FAAOR
 
Click on this link to get all the details about Bill 641 or view the new law on the Florida State Senate Web site.

For your convenience, we have also included the text of the law HERE.

The new language is under Chapter 474.203 (5) (b), Florida Statutes. The exemption from the Veterinary Practice Act reads as follows:
   

Exemptions: (b) A person hired on a part-time or temporary basis, or as an independent contractor, by an owner to assist with herd management and animal husbandry tasks for herd and flock animals, including castration, dehorning, parasite control, and debeaking, or a person hired on a part-time or temporary basis, or as an independent contractor, by an owner to provide farriery and manual hand floating of teeth on equines.

 


What’s New? - VETERINARIANS WANT TO DEFINE "VETERINARY PRACTICE" IN 2008

It has come to FAAOR's attention that the Florida Veterinary Medical Association will file a bill to define "veterinary practice" in the 2008 legislative session. At this time, FAAOR does not know if the bill will affect the exemption achieved in 2006. Please stay tuned. The legislative session is from March 4 through May 2, 2008. Members should see the "Members Only" section for further information.


 

ARCHIVES

Florida State Statutes 2007 - Veterinary Medical Practice - Chapter 474
Florida State Senate Web site.


Florida Vet Board Opinion on Services Considered Veterinary Medicine - March 2, 2004

DID YOU KNOW THAT the following are considered the Practice of Veterinary Medicine in Florida? According to a decision made by the Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine on March 2, 2004, these are all considered the practice of veterinary medicine...

   
 
  • Acupressure - Applying pressure to specific points to promote optimum energy flow

  • Aromatherapy - Inhalation, ingestion, or topical application of essential aromatic oils from plants to promote good health

  • Animal communication - Interpreting the thoughts of an animal

  • Farriery - Trimming and placing shoes on horses’ hooves

  • Flower essence therapy - Ingestion of distilled extracts from flowers to enhance emotional health

  • Hands on healing - Laying hands on the body to channel energy

  • Homeopathy - The use of plant, mineral or other substances in minute, diluted amounts to stimulate self-healing

  • Light therapy - Shining red and infrared light on the body to promote energy flow and circulation

  • Magnet therapy - Using magnets to create a magnetic field that increases circulation, oxygen utilization and energy flow

  • Nutritional counseling - Offering advice about nutrition



Therefore, in Florida, the use of these with an animal by anyone other than a veterinarian or the owner of the animal or his regular employee could be considered the practice of veterinary medicine without a license. If these things are considered veterinary medicine in Florida, you can probably think of other things that would be in question as well.

Violation of this law is a third degree felony, which carries a maximum penalty of a 5-year prison term and a $5,000 fine (ss. 474.213, 775.082, and 775.083, Florida Statutes).

If this decision bothers you and you'd like to see changes in the law to allow non-veterinarians to provide these services, join the Florida Alliance for Animal Owners Rights and contact your state legislator! We are seeking legal resolution to this far-reaching Florida law.

###



Download a .pdf version of this news release
Download a Word document version of this news release



Testimony to Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine - March 2, 2004

TESTIMONY TO THE FLORIDA BOARD OF VETERINARY MEDICINE

March 2, 2004

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Board:

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. My name is Nancy Stephens. I am the President of the Florida Alliance for Animal Owners Rights and appear before you as a volunteer for our association.

The Alliance is comprised of animal owners, some of whom are veterinarians and their family members.

I'd like to begin by telling you our members have the greatest respect for the knowledge and skills of veterinarians in this state. Our request and purpose is not about disparaging or replacing veterinarians.

On August 13, 2003, we asked for clarification of the veterinary practice act so that we will know whether or not certain types of animal care are considered veterinary medicine in Florida. In our opinion the law is both broad and vague. Lawyers who have looked at the veterinary practice act for us have advised us that it is unclear as to whether or not the modalities we question would be considered veterinary medicine by a court of law. Because people in Florida are performing and using these modalities, we need official clarification so Floridians do not inadvertently become felons when they either offer or utilize these services for their animals. We understand this Board has the ability to provide the clarification on which we may rely

Today we'd like to narrow the focus of our original request to just a subset of the former list. In our opinion these modalities complement veterinary medicine, are not an alternative to it, and do not replace it. Let me give you a copy of the revised list.

They are:

  • Acupressure - Applying pressure to specific points to promote optimum energy flow

  • Aromatherapy - Inhalation, ingestion, or topical application of essential aromatic oils from plants to promote good health

  • Animal communication - Interpreting the thoughts of an animal

  • Farriery - Trimming and placing shoes on horses’ hooves

  • Flower essence therapy - Ingestion of distilled extracts from flowers to enhance emotional health

  • Hands on healing - Laying hands on the body to channel energy

  • Homeopathy - The use of plant, mineral or other substances in minute, diluted amounts to stimulate self-healing

  • Light therapy - Shining red and infrared light on the body to promote energy flow and circulation

  • Magnet therapy - Using magnets to create a magnetic field that increases circulation, oxygen utilization and energy flow

  • Nutritional counseling - Offering advice about nutrition

The devices, providers, education or substances needed for these modalities are readily available to the public directly from private and public schools, producers, manufacturers, willing service providers, or from health food stores. No research exists that finds that these modalities cause any harm.

Important to this issue is the word "diagnosis" and the phrase "determination of the health, fitness or soundness of an animal." Neither of these terms are defined in the veterinary law. Webster’s Dictionary defines "diagnosing" as "the act or process of identifying or determining the nature of a disease through examination." Both of these terms work well with conventional, traditional veterinary medicine and procedures, but don't have a place with the modalities we are discussing today. The use of these modalities on a regular daily basis stems not from diagnosis, but from:

  1. wellness and prevention
  2. observations
  3. opinions
  4. education
  5. recommendations
  6. sharing of information

For instance, when a farrier trims a horse’s hoof, he does so based on his observations of the horse’s conformation and weaknesses or problems with the hoof. It is not a veterinary diagnosis, however a strict reading of the statute would preclude this.

We'd like recognition from the Board that the use of these modalities by non-veterinarians does not presume a veterinary diagnosis was made.

I'd like to quote a famous internationally renowned horse trainer in Florida named Pat Parelli. Mr. Parelli says that "Science is nature explained." The fact that many of these modalities have not been scientifically proven seems to be problematic for some in the veterinary community. Some modalities cannot be substantiated by scientific research, either because the cost of the research is not justified for the type of modality or the modality is based upon the subjective or emotional state of the individual subject and cannot be quantified. Just because scientific experiments are lacking for many of these modalities does not mean that use of them by non-veterinarian individuals should be illegal.

Many things in life cannot be explained, but we don't legally prohibit those things because of it! Some of the modalities we are asking about may be modalities of nature that have not been explained to your satisfaction, not scientifically proven, there may be no evidence that they work, and you may not believe in any of them, but none of those are valid reasons for claiming jurisdiction over them and prohibiting non-veterinarians in Florida from providing or using them for their animals. The only question that really matters is whether or not they cause an imminent risk of significant harm. We have no information to that effect.

In the Tallahassee Democrat on February 24, 2004 an article entitled "More Moms Take an Organic Approach." ran. In it Dr. Howard Schlachter, a pediatrician in New Jersey is quoted saying "I think that as practitioners of allopathic (traditional) medicine and alternative medicine begin to work together more, we will see, to the benefit of everyone, a fused, or integrative approach that works much better." While he is talking about human health care, we believe the same goes for animal health care.

The Florida Sunrise Act, s. 11.62(2), is relevant to this discussion. It provides that no profession or occupation be subject to regulation by the state unless the regulation is necessary to protect the public health, safety or welfare from significant and discernible harm or damage and that the police power of the state be exercised only to the extent necessary for that purpose.

The Sunrise Act also provides that no profession or occupation be regulated by the state in a manner than unnecessarily restricts entry into the practice of the profession or occupation or adversely affects the availability of the professional or occupational services to the public. The Act also asks whether the potential for harm is recognizable and not remote. (s. 11.62(3)(a).

There is another consideration in this decision. This is about the many freedoms we enjoy by being citizens of the United States.

Many of the therapies we have asked about have a long history of use in Europe, Asia and the United States. Animal owners are using these modalities for themselves and their families and want to use them for their animals. Unless they invest the time to acquire the knowledge themselves, the current vet law, without clarification, would lead them to believe they cannot access those services unless a vet offers them.

Animal owners want these services. They can acquire these services at will for their human family members but not for their animal family members. Many animal owners don't care whether the provider of the services is a licensed veterinarian or not. Furthermore, most veterinarians do not provide these services and may never do so because a) they have no interest or b) it is not cost effective.

Does that mean that this freedom should be denied Floridians? We think not. In fact in our members’ minds, this freedom to choose health care modalities for their animals ranks right up there with religious freedom, freedom for women to vote, and equal opportunity.

In January of this year, the House of Representatives recognized nutrition, homeopathy, health risk assessment, botanical medicine, counseling, aromatherapy, therapeutic touch, nutritional counseling and guidance, and other health practices as non invasive and not required to be licensed under Florida Statutes.

In the past 10 years over 140 people who are not veterinarians have been investigated by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Among those are animal communicators, equine massage therapists, and energy workers. Many of these individuals have received cease and desist orders. This demonstrates our need for clarification.

The Florida Veterinary Practice Act states in its purpose "The Legislature finds that the practice of veterinary medicine is potentially dangerous to the public health and safety if conducted by incompetent and unlicensed practitioners." We don't believe that the modalities we are asking about are considered dangerous. Therefore, they should not be confined to the jurisdiction of veterinarians.

Coincidentally, one of your Florida colleagues wrote a treatise a few years ago on this subject for some clients in Pennsylvania who winter and show horses in Florida. In this document she states that her clients feel a great deal of fear, frustration and anger because they believe they are being denied options for their animals and are limited in their choices. They believe that the choices made for their animals should rest in their hands.

In closing, we are asking for a binding opinion that has the force of law stating that these modalities do not constitute veterinary medicine in Florida.

Thank you for your attention in this matter which is of great importance to animal owners in Florida. We look forward to your determination. I have brought some items to illustrate these modalities if you have questions about them.

2/28/04

Download a .pdf version of this news release

Download a Word document version of this news release



How Would You Like to Be Able to Exercise Your Rights to Choose the Kind of Health Care You Want for Your Animal? by Katie Barr - February, 2004

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE ABLE TO EXERCISE YOUR RIGHTS TO CHOOSE THE KIND OF HEALTH CARE YOU WANT FOR YOUR ANIMAL?

By Katie Barr

DID YOU KNOW THAT in Florida...

  • The Florida Veterinary Medical Law is so vague that massage, farriery, aromatherapy, light therapy, herbal therapy, nutritional advice and more could be considered practicing veterinary medicine.
  • Acupuncture, physical therapy and dentistry are considered veterinary medicine in Florida.
  • If you are not a vet and not the owner of the animal, and you perform any therapies, render opinions or advice, provide services, or give any remedies or nutritional substances to someone’s animal, you may be practicing veterinary medicine, because you may have made a "determination of health" (considered a diagnosis) in order to do so (s. 474.202[9], F.S.).
  • If you are hiring anyone to administer therapies or advice to you about your animal that could be construed to be veterinary medicine, not only could you lose their services but also you both may be subject to a third-degree felony (s. 474.213, F.S.).
  • The maximum penalty for practicing veterinary medicine without a license in Florida is a third-degree felony, which carries a maximum 5-year prison term and a $5,000 fine (s. 474.213, 775.082, and 775.083, F.S.).
  • Over 140 non-veterinarians have been investigated in the past 10 years for practicing veterinary medicine without a license and they include equine dentists, animal communicators, equine massage therapists, and energy workers.

WHAT IF YOUR VET:

  • Told you he/she couldn't do anything else for your animal?
  • Does not provide the services you want for your animal?

WHAT COULD YOU DO?

Legally you could either a) educate yourself to perform the services you want, b) hire a service provider at your own risk, or c) do nothing!

Wouldn't you like to know that you could choose the person and the advice or treatment that you felt was best for your animal? Unless the law changes in Florida, you are legally deprived the right to choose.

Following are Florida definitions:

The practice of veterinary medicine is diagnosing the medical condition of animals and prescribing, dispensing, or administering drugs, medicine, appliances, applications, or treatment of whatever nature for the prevention, cure, or relief of a wound, fracture, bodily injury, or disease thereof; performing any manual procedure for the diagnosis of or treatment for pregnancy or fertility or infertility of animals; or representing oneself by the use of titles or words, or undertaking, offering, or holding oneself out, as performing any of these functions. The term includes the determination of the health, fitness, or soundness of an animal. s. 474.202(9), F.S.

(There is not a definition of "determination of health" or "diagnosing" in the veterinary law. Webster’s Dictionary defines "diagnosing" as "the act or process of identifying or determining the nature of a disease through examination.")

Veterinary Medicine includes, with respect to animals, surgery, acupuncture, obstetrics, dentistry, physical therapy, radiology, theriogenology, and other branches or specialties of veterinary medicine. s. 474.202(13), F.S.

What can we do?

  • Tell your veterinarian you think the law should be changed;
  • Tell your legislator you think the law should be changed;
  • Join the Florida Alliance for Animal Owners Rights (FAAOR)
The Florida Alliance for Animal Owners Rights (FAAOR) was formed in July 2003 for the purpose of getting clarification and changes of law to grant owners the right to choose. Specifically:

FAAOR is seeking to:

  • Allow knowledgeable individuals who are not veterinarians to provide certain healthcare services for your animals;
  • Promote wellness for animals;
  • Encourage well-rounded veterinary practices that offer more choices in the care of animals;
  • Legally recognize a talented group of animal caregivers who can offer health care that may or may not be available from a veterinarian;
  • Give you the right to choose all the providers who care for your animal and the type of care received;
  • Put all the tools for healing in your tool kit so you can mix and match for the best possible healthcare for your animal;
  • Promote more healthcare options for your animal;
  • Educate animal owners on the restrictions of the law;
  • Promote communication between animal healthcare providers and veterinarians;
  • Open the door for educational opportunities in animal health care; and
  • Bring about change for the health and welfare of all our animals.

For more information about FAAOR contact info [at] faaor dot org.

Download a .pdf version of this news release

Download a Word document version of this news release



Owners Want Health Care Choices for Their Animals
- September 19, 2003

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 19, 2003

CONTACT:
Nancy Stephens at info [at] faaor dot org

OWNERS WANT HEALTH CARE CHOICES FOR THEIR ANIMALS

Tallahassee - - With thousands of Floridians seeking alternative health care and wellness options for themselves, such as massage and acupuncture, those that are animal owners want the same kind of services for their treasured animals.

The Florida Alliance for Animal Owners Rights, Inc. (FAAOR), established in July, 2003, is seeking to change laws, rules and policies in Florida in a manner that would allow:

  1. animal owners to legally seek alternative health care and wellness therapies from non-veterinarians;
  2. encourage veterinarians to provide animal owners with more options in health care for their animals; and
  3. allow knowledgeable persons who wish to offer alternative health care and wellness therapies and counseling for animals to do so legally in Florida.

Today, any non-veterinarian who administers any treatment to an animal for the prevention, cure or relief of a wound, fracture, bodily injury, or disease may be found guilty of a third-degree felony. Also, any non-veterinarian who makes a determination of the health, fitness or soundness of an animal may be found guilty of a third-degree felony. The trigger is a complaint filed against the individual by anyone.

FAAOR is drafting legislation for 2004 to allow owners to have legal choices of alternative animal health care therapies and therapists, without becoming criminals or having the therapy providers become criminals.

###

Download a .pdf version of this news release

Download a Word document version of this news release



 

RESOURCES


Online Sunshine - Send an email to your legislator, look at filed bills, or review laws.
www.onlinesunshine.com

Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine
     Meetings, Agendas, Minutes, Rules

Florida Veterinary Medical Practice Act Chapter 474. Text of the law is also available here.

Natural Horse Magazine
Help the FAAOR. We have an arrangement with Natural Horse Magazine which contributes $3.00 to the FAAOR for each mail-in subscription. Contact us for an FAAOR subscription card. We have plenty for you to handout to your clients, friends, and family members. E-mail info@faaor.org for more information.




NETWORKING


To learn about similar activities in other states check:

Illinois Alliance for Animal Owners Rights, Inc. - www.iaaor.org
Arizona Alliance for Animal Owners Rights - www.azaaor.org
North Carolina Alliance for Complementary Animal Therapies - NCACAT






faaor
You may fill out and submit this application online or print it and send it to us with a check for your dues, $25/year for a Regular Member (Animal Owner/Interested Individual) or $100/year for an Associate Member (Interested Business/Association).

Required fields are marked with *.

 
*First Name:
 
*Last Name:
 
*Address:
 
*City, State, Zip:
 
*Phone Number:
 
*Email Address:
 
 
 
*Annual Dues:

 
 
 
Acknowledgement:
By submitting this form, you are acknowledging that you are:
  1. applying for membership in FAAOR; and
  2. interested in advocating laws, rules and policies that allow animal owners to choose non-veterinary animal health care service providers to provide certain types of care for their animals.

 
Permission:
By submitting this form, you grant permission to FAAOR to contact you by email/fax/mail/telephone. You understand that FAAOR will not share your address/email/telephone/fax with other organizations without your permission. Your preferred method of communication is:

 



CLICK HERE for the .pdf version of this application form. Please print it and mail it with your dues to 1912 Hoot Owl Hill, Tallahassee, Florida 32317.


Contact Us

Mail:

1912 Hoot Owl Hill, Tallahassee, Florida 32317.

E-Mail:

Info@faaor.org

  Email Us
 
 

Webpage Design by PagesByPaula.com

Email FAAOR