Interestingly, the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) has issued a policy statement on the ability of municipalities to pass laws which regulate veterinary activities. 2005’s West Hollywood legislation prohibiting declaws and 2007’s Norfolk City, Virginia’s ban on non-veterinarian cosmetic procedures were perhaps the impetus for such a decree.

Both laws impinged on the state’s ability to govern veterinary activities, indisputably complicating the role of the Board of Veterinary Medicine in these areas.

Historically, states have maintained the right to govern professionals, arguing that individual municipalities have no business adding restrictions which might affect the administration and enforcement of laws governing professionals adversely.

Though municipality restrictions might seem reasonable viewed in the light of one’s personal preferences (banning declaws and non-vet surgeries, as these examples positively prove), consider that enforcement would be minimal and the effects of such legislation a strain on current resources.

Furthermore, the approach to breed specific legislation, among other unwanted laws may benefit from the adherence to a state run veterinary administration policy. Municipalities would have less say in their colloquial restrictions on individuals and would serve to moderate their stance.

Though I would love to see bans on surgical cosmetics performed by non-vets on pets, the AVMA’s policy statement is a welcome one. And while I regard municipalities as likely to lead the charge on welfare issues in general, I prefer not to be subjected to the tyranny of the local majority when it comes to the regulation of my practice standards. I’d much prefer a larger pool of constituent weigh in when it comes to restricting the way I govern myself professionally. As you well know, local governments can be so fickly political.

Kudos to the AVMA for taking up this touchy issue.