AVMA provides updates on state legislation

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States passed legislation last year regarding the debarking of dogs, pregnancy checks in cows, physical therapists working on animals, and many other issues relevant to veterinarians.

The AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Department recently released its year-end report on more than 1,200 bills that it tracked during 2010.

According to the report, many state legislatures adopted bills relevant to animal welfare. In one example, Massachusetts adopted a bill prohibiting the surgical debarking or silencing of a dog or cat unless the attending veterinarian files a certification with the town clerk—or, in Boston, the police commissioner—stating that the procedure is medically necessary.

The scope of veterinary practice is emerging as a major issue in state legislatures, according to the year-end report.

Among other examples, Tennessee approved new exemptions from the practice of veterinary medicine for embryo removal and manual procedures for testing of pregnancy in bovine animals by farmers who receive no compensation and will not share the results. New Hampshire adopted a bill giving the veterinary board jurisdiction over physical therapists who work on animals and providing for certification in animal physical therapy.

The year-end report is available here. Members of the AVMA also can subscribe to a monthly e-mail newsletter on state legislation, regulations, and court cases by visiting here and clicking on "AVMA Legislative Update."

In addition, the AVMA has begun posting a state Bill of the Week on the AVMA@Work blog at http://atwork.avma.org.