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Agricultural News

Both Sides Seek Deal to Define Animal Husbandry Practices in Oklahoma

Fri, 21 Jan 2011 6:46:40 CST

Both Sides Seek Deal to Define Animal Husbandry Practices in Oklahoma There has been a lot of heartburn over this past summer and fall between animal agricultural interests and the State Vet Medical Board of Examiners. The board, smarting from the passage of HB 3202 in the 2010 State legislative session, had responded to that law by saying there needed to be a definition of what "Animal Husbandry" is and drafted emergency rules- got those approved by Governor Henry and declared that companies that do reproductive services are in violation of the law if they do not have a Veterinarian doing those procedures. This prompted loud screams of protest from several lawmakers- and a lawsuit from the Oklahoma Farm Bureau Legal Foundation.

According to the website Capitol Beat OK- "Since 1913, the Vet Board has never taken action against a farmer, rancher, horseman, nor employees or helpers of livestock producers in treating and caring for their own animals," Cathy Kirkpatrick, Executive Director of the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, told CapitolBeatOK.

Kirkpatrick added, "Nothing has changed from decades of how owners can care and treat their own animals. The Board has always supported the rights of Oklahoma farmers and ranchers to treat and care for their own animals and understands that assistance is required by employees, neighbors, friends and family to carry out this task. These provisions of the Veterinary Practice Act were never changed."

House Bill 3202 amended the Veterinary Practice Act by allowing teeth floating and horseshoeing services to be provided by a certified non-veterinarian equine dental care provider and included animal husbandry under acts not prohibited. The Vet Board's defenders assert the recent emergency rules attempted to clarify the legislation, by defining what animal husbandry does not include, to help ensure that Oklahoma's beef supply and livestock have quality care by licensed and trained medical physicians for all procedures that are invasive or surgical in any manner.

Animal Ag groups and lawmakers who promoted HB 3202 last year contend that Reproductive Services should fall under the bill's language of "other acts of Animal Husbandry." The Emergency Rules issued by the State Agency did not allow that- which prompted the Lawsuit and promises to get it included in new legislation in 2011.

In recent weeks however- the attitudes of both sides has mellowed. A week ago, the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners has voted to withdraw emergency rules requested and signed into law by then-Governor Brad Henry to help define the term "animal husbandry," in order to clarify who can provide medical services on livestock. The Farm Bureau Legal Foundation backed off and withdrew their lawsuit.

Kirkpatrick said the withdrawal of the emergency rules was a good-faith effort to work with legislators and the Oklahoma Farm Bureau by starting with a clean slate.

Now the two sides, having both given some ground, are negotiating. Cathy Kirkpatrick, Executive Director of the Vet Board, tells us that the negotiations center around these reproductive services- and Tyler Norvell of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau agrees. Both sides tell us that they are working toward getting a certification of responsible parties that are not Vets but are trained in these specific practices to be allowed to work legally here in the state of Oklahoma.

Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear an audio overview with both Kirkpatrick and Norvell weighing in on this issue.


Ron Hays Reports on the work being done to define Animal Husbandry and what can be done legally by non Veterinarians on animals they don't own.
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