Minnesota Horse Teeth Floating

Johnson v. Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine  
Challenging Minnesota's Veterinary Licensing Laws

IJ Client Chris Johnson

Veterinarians have captured Minnesota’s Board of Veterinary Medicine and are using its power to exclude competitors no matter how small the market or how low-risk the area of animal care.

An example of this is the crackdown on so-called “horse teeth floaters”—individuals who manually file down points and level a domestic horse’s teeth.  (Horses need to have their teeth “floated”—an important but painless exercise—because their modern diet is not sufficiently abrasive to maintain the evenness of their teeth.  If the points are not floated, it may become painful for a domestic horse to chew or hold a bit.)

The traditional occupation of a horse teeth floating offers a lifetime of opportunity for rural Minnesotans who love horses.  But Minnesota’s Board of Veterinary Medicine is keeping individuals like Chris Johnson out of business and is subjecting him to fines and incarceration for practicing the occupation he loves.

More than just horse teeth filing, the Institute for Justice Minnesota Chapter will show that when private interests capture a State’s licensing board, they stifle completion, raise prices and reduce consumer choices.  Wednesday, August 16 2006, IJ-Minnesota filed a lawsuit against the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine in the First Judicial District to free Chris Johnson from unnecessary and irrational occupational licensing laws and set precedent to challenge other boards.

This suit is the fourth case in IJ-Minnesota’s campaign to restore economic liberty as a civil right under both the Minnesota and U.S. Constitutions.

Essential Background


Background on this case

Client Photo

Latest Release: Minnesota District Court Upholds Economic Protectionism (June 23, 2008)

Client Video


Launch Release: Institute for Justice Minnesota Chapter Challenges State’s Veterinary Licensing Scheme (August 16, 2006)

Legal Briefs and Decisions

Post Trial Brief (Apr. 11, 2008)


Case Timeline

Filed Lawsuit:


August 16, 2006

Court Filed:


MN Fourth Judicial District Court



Case Closed


Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts

Release: Horse Teeth Floaters Have Their Day in Court; Nationally Recognized UM Professor Writes Court to Defend Entrepreneurs (June 15, 2007)

Statewide Study On Government Barriers to Entrepreneurship in Minnesota






Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Article: IJ Puts “Regulatory Capture” On Trial; Liberty & Law (April 2008)

Article: An Economic Liberty Lawsuit with Teeth, Liberty & Law (October 2006)

Article: Minnesota veterinary board sued for teeth floating law JAVMA News
October 15, 2006

Article: Teeth Floater Files Suit Against Veterinary Group The Horse
October 1, 2006

Article: Lay Equine Dentist Files Veterinary Practice Act Lawsuit in Minnesota The Horse
August 17, 2006

Article: US horse dentist fights to practise Horsetalk
August 18, 2006

Article: Taking a license to work Star Tribune
September 22, 2005

Article: Lawsuit challenges veterinary licensing rules Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal
August 16, 2006

Email Address
Please enter a valid email address

Institute for Justice
901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22203
Tel 703.682.9320, Fax 703.682.9321
© 1997-2015