Texas Equine Dentistry - Background



Litigation Backgrounder

Challenging Texas’
Elitist Veterinary Cartel

The Issue in a Nutshell:

Independent and self-reliant Texans have been taking care of their horses for a long time without unnecessary government meddling.  But bureaucrats in Austin have concocted a monopolistic licensing scheme to protect a cartel of veterinarians that puts Texas entrepreneurs out of work while forcing horse owners to pay more for lower-quality care.

The Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners is demanding that Texas equine dental practitioners spend up to $100,000 and four years at veterinary school, where they learn next to nothing about caring for horses’ teeth, or else abandon their profession.  (Horses’ teeth grow constantly and thus occasionally need to be filed or “floated”—an important but painless procedure.)  Horse tooth care requires skill, experience and horsemanship, none of which are the exclusive purview of state-licensed veterinarians.

Texas, along with a handful of other states, has recently outlawed the occupation of equine dental practitioner by decreeing that only government-licensed veterinarians—most of whom have no training whatsoever in equine dentistry—may work on horse teeth.  This blatantly anti-competitive regulation serves the sole purpose of maximizing the incomes of largely untrained, unqualified, ill-equipped veterinarians at the expense of horse owners and Texas entrepreneurs.

That is why on August 28, 2007, the Institute for Justice (IJ), a national public interest law firm with a history of defending economic liberty and the rights of entrepreneurs, filed suit in Travis County District Court in Austin.  On behalf of equine dental practitioners and Texas horse owners, IJ is challenging the licensing scheme as a violation of Texas law and the Texas Constitution.

The Institute for Justice is a non-profit public interest law firm that litigates on behalf of individuals whose rights are being violated by the government.  IJ accepts no government funds.  To make a tax-deductible contribution to support IJ’s litigation, call (703) 682-9320 or visit www.ij.org/donate.

 

Introduction

Small businesses play an essential role in our economy.  They create wealth and prosperity in their communities by driving costs down through competition and innovation while building personal relationships with their customers.  Unfortunately, all too often, entrenched interests and government bureaucrats team up to turn the American entrepreneurial dream into a nightmare.

Consider Texan equine dental practitioners like Carl Mitz, Dena Corbin, Randy Riedinger and Brady George, who have long provided services to horse owners like Gary Barnes and Tony Greaves.

The Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners wants to put Carl, Dena, Randy and Brady out of business.  Even though equine dental practitioners have worked on the teeth of hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of horses with no significant problems, the State Board suddenly began classifying equine teeth “floating” and extraction as the practice of veterinary medicine and threatening experienced, highly qualified equine dental practitioners with potentially massive fines and even jail sentences if they do not shut down their flourishing businesses.

 

Why “Float” Horse Teeth?

Like humans, dogs and cats, horses grow two sets of teeth in their lifetimes.  A young horse begins with deciduous teeth but has a full set of up to 44 permanent teeth by the age of five.  However, it is natural for a horse’s teeth to continue to push through its gums or “erupt” until the horse loses its teeth or passes away. [1]

Because of the natural alignment of their jaws, horses do not evenly wear down their teeth and their teeth need to be filed, or “floated,” every six to 12 months in order to prevent or remove fang-like “points” on the horse’s molars.  These points may cause serious problems as they prevent the horse from effectively grinding food using his natural lateral chewing motion.  This may prevent the horse from properly digesting food and may lead to reductions in the horse’s weight and overall health.  The removal of points in order to smooth the surfaces or “tables” of a horse’s molars is relatively simple to accomplish, requiring hand-eye coordination and the ability to recognize straight or abnormally curved lines by feel or sight. 

Among the most important skills in floating is horsemanship, the ability to calm a horse prior to interacting with it.  Throughout history, that service has typically been provided by various laypeople, including equine dental providers.  This arrangement has served horses and horse owners well for hundreds of years, and it presents no legitimate health, safety or welfare concerns. 

 

The Plaintiffs:  Equine Dental Practitioners and Breeders

Carl Mitz lives in Washington, Texas, and is a third-generation horseman.  Carl has customers in 30 states and is widely recognized as the nation’s premier equine dental practitioner for miniature horses. Since 1985, he has treated the teeth of over 100,000 miniature horses and earned a reputation as the “Mini King” for his special skill at caring for the unique dental needs of these special animals.

Although the bodies of miniature horses, including their mouths, are generally a quarter of the size of a standard horse, the size of their teeth is no different.  This leads to a need for extensive floating and extractions.  Carl designs and manufactures tools specially used to float and extract teeth from miniature horses.  The International Association of Equine Dentistry (IAED), a private certification organization headquartered in Denton, Texas, has certified Carl as an advanced equine dental practitioner. 

Dena Corbin lives in Benbrook, Texas, and owns North Texas Equine Dentistry, which provides dental services for all breeds of horses including standard horses, miniatures, donkeys and mules.  Since beginning her practice in 2001, Dena has provided dental services to approximately 15,000 horses.[2]

She graduated in 2003 from the Texas Institute of Equine Dentistry, where she learned to float and extract equine teeth.  Before that she earned Associate in Applied Science Degrees in Veterinary Technology and in Human Dentistry from the Veterinary Technological Institute in Arlington, Texas, and the Texas College of Medical and Dental in Dallas.

Dena has more than 11 years of experience working with animal and human teeth.  Dena worked for a (human) dentist in Dallas for four years assisting in dental surgery including administering anesthesia, extractions and filling cavities.  She then worked for Alta Vista Animal Hospital in Keller, Texas, for five years as a technologist assisting veterinarians in the provision of dental care.

Randy Riedinger has floated the teeth of more than 40,000 horses.  Some of Randy’s long-time customers include celebrities such as 11-time World Champion Barrel Racer Charmayne James, Phil Rapp, Bob Avila, Fred Tabor and John Ward Racing Stables, as well as several top teams in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

He lives in Weatherford, just west of Fort Worth, and from 1996 to 2001 studied and taught at the Academy of Equine Dentistry in Glenns Ferry, Idaho.  He was one of the original members of the committee that helped to establish and design the certification programs at the Academy of Equine Dentistry.  He was also chairman of the committee from 1999 until 2001.

In 2002, Randy established the Texas Institute of Equine Dentistry in Weatherford, where he teaches both veterinarians and non-veterinarians how to care for horses’ teeth.  To reach basic proficiency, a student needs to complete four weeks of hands-on training in the classroom and clinic at the Texas Institute of Equine Dentistry, regardless of whether a student has previously studied at a veterinary college or is a licensed veterinarian.  Randy recognizes that studying to be a licensed veterinarian does not prepare students to be proficient in equine dentistry.

Although the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners is prohibiting Randy from working, the State of Texas’ Work Force Commission has licensed the Texas Institute of Equine Dentistry to teach equine teeth floating and extraction.  The state’s contradictory actions put a new bureaucratic twist on the old expression that those who can’t do, teach.  Unfortunately, it is the state’s monopolistic licensing laws that are preventing Randy from working, not any lack of ability or opportunity.

Brady George lives in Martinsville, Texas, near Nacogdoches, and has spent decades raising and competing with horses.

Brady holds a certification from the Texas Institute of Equine Dentistry in Weatherford.  He has been floating and extracting horse teeth since 2003.  In his career, he has treated approximately 2,500 horses.  Brady works full time for a manufacturing firm near his home and offers equine dental services after work and on weekends.

Gary Barnes and his wife Lisa live in Tolar, Texas, where they have been breeding and training miniature horses on his 60-acre ranch since 2002.  He specializes in training miniature horses for performance competitions sponsored by the American Miniature Horse Association (AMHA) for which Gary serves as chairman of the Performance Committee.  He hires Carl Mitz to treat his horses’ teeth.  Carl’s services are an integral part of Gary’s business because performance horses must have healthy and well-maintained teeth to accept the bit and receive instructions in driving competitions through the bridle.

Tony Greaves and his wife Carol live in Buda, Texas, just south of Austin.  There, they operate Little America Miniature Horse Ranch, which has about 300 miniature horses, making Tony one of the largest breeders of miniature horses in the country.  He sells approximately 75 horses annually to customers in the United States and around the world including those in Australia, Mexico, Thailand and Europe. 

Tony’s miniature horses have won numerous awards in halter competitions including one National Championship and four Reserve National Championships.  Carl Mitz’s services are a critical part of Tony’s business because miniature horses are judged in halter competitions principally based on appearance, including the judges evaluating the horses’ teeth.  A horse’s awards and its appearance are essential factors in determining the price a customer will pay to buy that horse.  Nearly every customer asks Tony about the condition of his horses’ teeth prior to purchase.  Since beginning breeding 24 years ago, Tony has never found a licensed veterinarian capable of meeting his herd’s needs. 

 

Texas’ Veterinary Licensing Act

Under Texas law, only state-licensed veterinarians may practice “veterinary medicine.”[3]  What counts as “veterinary medicine,” however, is open to significant interpretation.  At first blush, the definition within the state Veterinary Licensing Act seems quite broad:  “Veterinary medicine includes veterinary surgery, reproduction and obstetrics, dentistry, ophthalmology, dermatology, cardiology, and any other discipline or specialty of veterinary medicine.”[4] 

But as anyone who has ever worked on a farm or a ranch knows perfectly well, laypeople routinely do all sorts of things with large animals that fall within that absurdly broad definition of “veterinary medicine.”  The licensing act tries to deal with that reality by creating numerous exceptions and exemptions that make clear that practitioners other than veterinarians are qualified to take care of many aspects of an animal’s health.  For example, the licensing act specifically states that anyone may perform “livestock management practices,” including:  castration, dehorning, tail docking, shoeing horses, (nonsurgical) birthing, branding, artificial insemination, and “treating an animal for disease prevention with a nonprescription medicine or vaccine.”[5]  Thus, anyone may do those things in Texas with no license and no supervision, regardless of whether they have any training, experience or know-how.  Yet the Board singles out horse tooth care, which has far fewer risks than other types of horse care, for licensing.[6] 

Another absurdity of Texas’ law is that the licensing act does not apply to “the treatment or care of an animal in any manner by the owner of the animal, an employee of the owner, or a designated caretaker of the animal.”[7]  That means a horse owner can have a totally inexperienced, untrained ranch hand float and extract his horse’s teeth but the same horse owner may not hire an experienced, highly qualified practitioner like Carl, Dena, Randy or Brady to do the same work simply because they are not full-time employees.  

Moreover, veterinarians typically do not learn to float or extract horse teeth in school and are rarely tested on proficiency in equine teeth floating and extraction when they take the licensure exam.  Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the 27 other veterinary schools and colleges in the United States offer a generally uniform curriculum of classroom, laboratory and clinical education that is designed to prepare graduates for the general practice of veterinary medicine.  Texas A&M and the vast majority of the other 27 veterinary schools do not require students to take a single class in equine dentistry in order to graduate, although some schools offer electives.[8]  Moreover, the annual cost to attend Texas A&M is $27,892 for Texas residents; that totals well over $100,000 for the four years needed to graduate as a doctor of veterinary medicine.[9] 

Forcing Texas equine dental practitioners to spend more than $100,000 and four years at veterinary school, where they will learn next to nothing about caring for horse’s teeth, is ridiculous.  Horse tooth care requires skill, experience and horsemanship, none of which come from vet school. 

 

The Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners

Government regulations like the ones here that do nothing more than protect special interests from competition hurt both entrepreneurs who fill specialized niches and consumers who are forced to pay higher prices for lower-quality services and fewer choices.  The State Board’s campaign against equine dental practitioners has nothing to do with the well-being of horses or their owners and everything to do with promoting the financial interests of state-licensed veterinarians.  Texas’ absurd licensing scheme is a lose-lose-lose for entrepreneurs, horse owners and horses.  It puts people with the experience and skill to care for horse teeth out of work, while forcing Texas horse owners to pay more for lower quality care. 

Like many occupational licensing boards, the Texas State Board is composed almost entirely of practitioners.  Six of the Board’s nine positions are set aside for licensed veterinarians, providing ample opportunity for capturing governmental power to advance the narrow economic interests of veterinarians and for reinforcing the profession’s orthodoxy.

Non-veterinary equine dental practitioners often charge half or even a third of what veterinarians charge to treat horses’ teeth.   Practitioners like Carl, Dena, Randy and Brady can offer a more cost-effective service because, unlike veterinarians, they specialize in treating horses’ teeth.  They have made significant investments in tools, often more than $7,000 for an initial set, but can spread their fixed costs over the many horses they serve.  Because veterinarians cannot beat their competitors in the marketplace, they seek to beat them through occupational licensing laws.

As part of that effort, the State Board sent out cease-and-desist notices in late February 2007, ordering ten different equine dental practitioners, including IJ’s clients, to shut down their businesses or face prosecution, fines and incarceration for practicing veterinary medicine without a license.  In response, more than 300 outraged horse owners—many of them customers of Carl, Dena, Randy and Brady—sent letters and emails to the State Board protesting its decision to shut down equine dental practitioners in Texas.  Instead of responding constructively, the Board cancelled a public meeting that had been planned to allow people to tell the Board how they felt about its enforcement actions.[10] 

There is no doubt about the State Board’s seriousness in enforcing its new policy against equine dental practitioners.  According to the latest edition of the Board’s in-house publication, starting on September 4, 2007, the Board staff will “begin filing cases at the State Office of Administrative Hearings against those persons who have failed or refused to sign a cease-and-desist order.”[11]

The State Board is abusing its power by protecting an elitist cartel of veterinarians and shutting out entrepreneurs who have the know-how to care for horses’ teeth.  If the Board has its way, those with the skill and experience to properly care for Texans’ horses will be forced out of the market, leaving horse owners with only one option:  hire licensed veterinarians who, in most cases, lack both training and skill in caring for horse teeth.

Notably, the Texas Legislature has recognized that overregulation of occupations is a problem, and even passed a law known as a Sunrise Act stating that “regulation should not be imposed on any profession or occupation unless required for the protection of the health, safety, or welfare of the residents of the state.”[12]  The Board’s regulation of equine dental practitioners obviously falls well below that standard, as there is no evidence whatsoever showing that the widespread and historically well-established practice of non-veterinarians taking care of horses’ teeth presents any genuine problems for horses or their owners—quite the contrary.  Instead of protecting the public, the prohibition on equine dental practitioners reduces competition, drives up prices, reduces the quality of services and destroys innovation.

Texas law further provides that “if the legislature finds that it is necessary” to regulate a given occupation, that should be done “in the least restrictive manner available,” starting with “a system of registration by which practitioners . . . may register with a designated state agency, but without the imposition of prequalfications” or credentials of any kind.[13]

Regrettably, the Board has ignored those requirements, bypassing a less restrictive registration approach in favor of full-blown occupational licensing.  Simply put, the Board’s decision to regulate equine dental practitioners out of business flies in the face of state law and cannot be reconciled with the requirements that any such regulation be shown to be necessary to protect the public and that it be done in the least restrictive manner available. 

 

The State Constitutional Right to Economic Liberty

The Texas Constitution protects Texans’ right to earn an honest living in the occupation of their choice subject only to reasonable government regulation.[14]  The state Constitution likewise requires the government to accord citizens “equal rights” under the law, meaning the government may not arbitrarily treat similarly situated people differently—or differently situated people the same—when doing so is detrimental to their interests.[15]  Finally, the Texas Constitution prohibits the creation of monopolies by the government, which is precisely what the State Board has done by arbitrarily giving untrained, inexperienced and ill-equipped veterinarians the exclusive right to perform equine dental services.

The Veterinary Licensing Act violates all three of these constitutional principles.  First, Texas’ arbitrary law does not afford equine dental practitioners the same freedom from veterinary licensure requirements as is enjoyed by those who offer horseshoeing, tail docking, dehorning and castration services.  Simply stated, the skill level, requisite knowledge and risks of injury from floating and extracting teeth are no greater than those associated with these other services; therefore, the regulatory distinction between floating and any of the other four practices is not justified.  Because Texas law treats the occupation of equine dental practitioner differently than it treats similar occupations, it violates the equal protection requirement of Section 3 of Article 1 of the Texas Constitution.[16]

Second, the law’s requirement of obtaining a veterinary license is not tied to the legitimate goal of protecting the horse or the horse owner from receiving poor veterinary care by an unlicensed equine dental professional.  Specifically, one can graduate from nearly all veterinary colleges, including Texas A&M, without taking a class focused on floating and extraction.  And even when floating is taught as part of the core curriculum, it is often taught as a tiny fraction of a general large animal medicine course.  There is no basis for requiring someone to become a veterinarian if all he wants to do is float and extract teeth, since veterinary school does not teach proficiency in either.  This fundamental unfairness reveals that the challenged regulation lacks a genuine connection to any legitimate public purpose.  As such, it violates the Due Course of Law provision contained in section 19 of Article 1 of the Texas Constitution.[17]

Third, the State Board’s aggressive enforcement against equine dental practitioners—in the total absence of any documented problems or need for greater regulation—is naked economic protectionism on behalf of state-licensed veterinarians, plain and simple.

Finally, the authors of the Texas Constitution of 1876 wisely included an anti-monopoly provision recognizing that “monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free government, and shall never be allowed.”[18]  Through its efforts to restrict free entry into the marketplace by equine dental practitioners, the Board is creating a monopoly for the exclusive benefit of state-licensed veterinarians.  In addition to denying Carl, Dena, Randy and Brady the freedom to work as equine dental practitioners, the Board’s actions are also forcing Gary, Tony and other horse owners to pay higher prices for inferior services performed by mostly untrained, inexperienced and unqualified veterinarians whose right to do that work derives purely from their status as licensed veterinarians and not from their actual skill or ability.

 

The Regulation of Equine Dental Practitioners in the United States

There are more than nine million horses in the United States.[19]  With nearly 980,000 horses, Texas ranks first in the nation in terms of equine population.  Over 60 percent of horses in Texas are involved in showing and recreation, and 455,600 Texans are connected with the horse industry as owners, service providers, employees and volunteers.  Even more participate as spectators.[20] 

Additionally, according to the American Miniature Horse Association, the leading miniature horse association, there are nearly 170,000 miniature horses in America.  Here again, Texas leads the nation with approximately 25,000 miniature horses, or nearly 15 percent of all miniature horses in the country.[21] 

Texans—both practitioners and owners—have good reason to be concerned about irrational regulations that affect horses, horse owners and those who work with them. 

The regulation of horse teeth floaters is at a tipping point.  Idaho, Louisiana, Nebraska and North Carolina have enacted legislation to restrict the practice to veterinarians, as have California and Tennessee, which have the second- and third-largest populations of horses after Texas.[22]  Utah and Arkansas have recently sent cease-and-desist letters to equine dental practitioners.[23]

But a concerted effort in Virginia recently resulted in the enactment of legislation that liberalized the regulation of floaters.  As a result, Virginia joined Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Florida and Vermont in exempting floaters from veterinary regulation or subjecting them more relaxed regulation.[24]

The Institute for Justice’s Minnesota Chapter is currently challenging in court a similar attempt by the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine to prohibit non-veterinarians from floating horse teeth.

Litigation Team

Founded in 1991, the Institute for Justice is a public interest law firm that advances a rule of law under which individuals can control their destinies as free and responsible members of society.  Through litigation, communication and outreach, IJ secures protection for individual liberty and extends the benefits of freedom to those whose full enjoyment is denied by government.

IJ filed the case of Mitz v. Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners on August 28, 2007, in District Court for Travis County in Austin, Texas.  The lead attorneys in this case are Clark Neily, senior attorney at IJ’s headquarters in Arlington, Va., and Lee McGrath, executive director of IJ’s state chapter in Minnesota. 

IJ has successfully represented entrepreneurs nationwide who fought arbitrary government regulation, reviving the constitutional protection of the right to economic liberty—the right to earn an honest living in the occupation of one’s choice, free from excessive government regulation:

  • Swedenburg v. Kelly—The Institute for Justice successfully waged the nation’s leading legal battle to reestablish the American ideal of economic liberty when, on May 16, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down discriminatory laws that existed only to protect the monopoly power of large, politically connected liquor wholesalers.  Vintner entrepreneurs Juanita Swedenburg and David Lucas joined wine consumers and IJ in filing this federal lawsuit as a challenge to the ban on direct interstate wine shipments in New York.  The case raised issues of Internet commerce, free trade among the states, and regulations that hampered small businesses and the consumers they sought to serve.
  • Craigmiles v. Giles—The Institute for Justice secured a federal court victory striking down Tennessee’s casket sales licensing scheme as unconstitutional, a decision that was upheld unanimously in December 2002 by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and not appealed.  This marked the first federal appeals court victory for economic liberty since the New Deal.
  • Franzoy v. TemplemanIJ represented two interior designers in successfully challenging New Mexico’s titling law, which prohibited anyone except government-licensed interior designers from using the terms “interior design” or “interior designer.”  The New Mexico Legislature amended the law, doing away with the speech restriction.  The Governor signed the bill into law in April 2007.
  • Rissmiller v. Arizona Structural Pest Control Commission—In the fall of 2005, the Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter (IJ-AZ) challenged the state’s requirement that gardeners and landscape maintenance workers obtain three separate licenses simply to kill weeds with over the counter products.  As a result of this litigation, gardeners throughout the state are now free to control weeds using products available to the average consumer.
  • Diaw v. Washington State Cosmetology, Barbering, Esthetics, and Manicuring Advisory Board—In March 2005, after being sued by the Institute for Justice Washington Chapter (IJ-WA) just seven months earlier, state bureaucrats exempted African-style hairbraiders from discriminatory cosmetology-licensing requirements.
  • Armstrong v. Lunsford—The Institute for Justice opened the hairbraiding market in Mississippi in 2005 when the state Legislature responded to this lawsuit, filed in federal court in 2004, by allowing IJ’s clients to continue their entrepreneurship without obtaining a needless government license.
  • Alf v. Arizona Structural Pest Control Commission—In 2004, IJ-AZ persuaded Arizona bureaucrats to change their position on requiring teenage entrepreneur Christian Alf to obtain a government-issued license for his after-school handyman business helping local residents prevent roof rats.
  • Farmer v. Arizona Board of Cosmetology—In 2004, as a result of an IJ-AZ lawsuit, the Arizona Legislature exempted hairbraiders from the state’s outdated cosmetology scheme.
  • ForSaleByOwner.com Corp. v. ZinnemannAlso in 2004, the Institute for Justice prevailed in persuading the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California to stop the state of California’s efforts to impose real estate broker licensing requirements on an informational website.
  • Wexler v. City of New Orleans—In 2003, the Institute for Justice successfully persuaded a federal court to strike down an absurd ordinance that prohibited booksellers from selling books on city sidewalks without a government-issued permit.
  • Clutter v. Transportation Services Authority—In 2001, IJ defeated Nevada’s Transportation Services Authority and its entrenched limousine cartel that had stifled competition in Las Vegas’ limousine market.
  • Cornwell v. California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology—In 1999, IJ defeated California’s arbitrary cosmetology licensing requirement for African braiders.
  • Ricketts v. City of New York—The Institute for Justice successfully defended commuter-van entrepreneurs in 1999 in a fight against the government bus monopoly that would not allow any jitney entrepreneurs to provide service to consumers in underserved metropolitan neighborhoods in New York City.
  • Jones v. Temmer—In 1995, IJ helped three entrepreneurs overcome Colorado’s protectionist taxicab monopoly to open Denver’s first new cab company in nearly 50 years.  IJ used this victory to help break open government-sanctioned taxicab monopolies in Indianapolis and Cincinnati.
  • Uqdah v. D.C. Board of Cosmetology—In 1993, IJ’s work in court and the court of public opinion led the District of Columbia to eliminate a 1938 Jim Crow-era licensing law against African-style hairbraiders.

For more information, contact:

Bob Ewing

Communications Coordinator

Institute for Justice

901 North Glebe Road, Suite 900

Arlington VA 22203-1854

bewing@ij.org

Phone: (703) 682-9320 ext. 206

 

Clark Neily

Senior Attorney

Institute for Justice

901 North Glebe Road, Suite 900

Arlington VA 22203-1854

cneily@ij.org

Phone: (703) 682-9320 ext. 204

 

Lee McGrath

Executive Director

Institute for Justice Minnesota Chapter

527 Marquette Avenue, Suite 1600

Minneapolis MN 55402-1330

lmcgrath@ij.org

Phone: (612) 435-3451 ext. 205

Cell: (612) 963-0296



[1] Manuel G. Himenes Jr., DVM, “Understanding Your Horse’s Teeth” (2002) available at http://www.xcodesign.com/aaep/displayArticles.cfm?ID=28

[2] Dena is also the founder and president of the National Equine Dentistry Association (NEDA), a private certification organization headquartered in Benbrook, Texas, that has approximately 150 members.  NEDA certified Dena as a master equine dental practitioner.

[3] Tex. Occ. Code Ann. § 801.251 (emphasis added).

[4] Id. § 801.002(7).

[5] Id. § 801.004(2).

[6] Equine teeth floating and extraction are less dangerous than removing tails or extracting horns or testes.  Tail docking is invasive and prone to infection.  http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/publications/publications.htm ?SEQ_NO_115=189356 (last visited 08/21/07).  Castration can be invasive and is risky, particularly where the extraction is done through a scrotal incision (for adult animals); even tie-off procedures (for younger animals) can cause extreme pain.  www.nda.agric.za/docs/Beef-castrate.pdf (last visited 08/21/07).  Dehorning is also invasive in that nerves and blood vessels permeate the horn, necessitating clamping with risks of brain damage and infection.  http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/beef/facts/ info_dehorn.htm (last visited 08/21/07).

[7] Tex. Occ. Code Ann. § 801.004(1).

[8] Required curriculum at Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine available at http://www.cvm.tamu.edu/dcvm/Curriculum/CurrOverView.shtml.

[9] Tuition and other costs to attend Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine available at http://www.cvm.tamu.edu/dcvm/admissions/tuition.shtml.

[10] In the July 2007 issue of its publication, Board Notes, the State Board announced that, in its opinion, “no need existed to hold a (public) meeting to consider whether any further rules on equine dentistry were necessary.”  Available at http://www.tbvme.state.tx.us/Board%20Notes/07- 2007%20Board%20Notes.pdf.

[11] Id.

[12] Tex. Occ. Code Ann. § 318.001(4).

[13] Id. § 318.003(a).

[14] Tex. Const. Art. 1, § 19 (“No citizen of this State shall be deprived of life, liberty, property, privileges or immunities, or in any manner disfranchised, except by the due course of the law of the land”).  The “due course of law” provision has been held to protect citizens’ economic liberty.  Texas Power and Light Co. v. City of Garland, 431 S.W.2d 511 (Tex.1968). 

[15] Tex. Const. Art. 1 §3 states: “All free men, when they form a social compact, have equal rights, and no man, or set of men, is entitled to exclusive separate public emoluments, or privileges, but in consideration of public services.”

[16] Id.

[17] Tex. Const. Art. 1 §19 states: “No citizen of this State shall be deprived of life, liberty, property, privileges or immunities, or in any manner disfranchised, except by the due course of the law of the land.”

[18]  Tex. Const. Art. 1 §26 states:  “ Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free government, and shall never be allowed, nor shall the law of primogeniture or entailments ever be in force in this State.”

[19] The Economic Impact of the Horse Industry on the United States, by Deloitte Consulting LLP for the American Horse Council Foundation  (2005) highlights available at http://horsecouncil.org/economics.html.

[20] Id.

[21] Planning for the future of the AMHA, American Miniature Horse Association (2007).

[22] Idaho Code § 54-2103 (2005); La. Rev. Stat. § 37:1514 (2005); Neb. Rev. Stat. § 71-1,154(2) (2005); NC Stat. § 90-179 (2a); Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 4826; and Tenn. Stat. § 63-12-103 (17)

[23] In November 2004, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, a trade association for veterinarians, approved a revised position on equine dentistry that limits equine dental procedures to licensed veterinarians and their employees. 

[24] Va. Stat. §54-813 (2007); Conn. Stat. § 20-197 (2005); Ill. Stat. CS § 225, 115/4(15) (2005); Md. Stat. § 2-301(g)(8) (2005); Fl. Stat. § 474.203 (5)(b), 26 Vt. Stat. § 2403(2) (2005).


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