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Oklahoma cattlemen's group concerned about new rule

Oklahoma state board passes rule making it clear that a veterinarian must be on the staff of companies providing reproductive services for animals.

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: September 23, 2010
That measure, House Bill 3202, focused on equine dentists, or those who file down horses' teeth. Equine dentistry and horseshoeing are listed as not being veterinary practices in the measure.

"There was no definition of animal husbandry,” Kirkpatrick said, so the board approved a rule saying animal husbandry does not include reproductive services.

Dewald said that's not what legislators intended. Three or four amendments to HB 3202 that would have made reproductive services a veterinary act failed, he said.

"By virtue of these amendments failing in the Legislature ... it clearly shows what the Legislature's intent was,” he said.

When legislators aren't in session, agencies can pass emergency rules that clarify state legislation. For the emergency rules to take effect, the governor must sign them. Gov. Brad Henry signed the rules Aug. 30 without comment, a spokesman said.

The emergency rule will become permanent if legislators take no action next year. Legislators, who return in February, can pass a resolution not to accept the rules.

Cattle owners or their employees are still allowed to administer drugs or perform reproductive services, Kirkpatrick said.

"It's their animal,” she said.

Dewald said some of the 5,000 members in his group use veterinarians for reproductive services and won't be affected by the rule, but it comes down to giving livestock owners freedom of choice.

"If we had seen a lot of consumer complaints about some of the nonveterinarian reproductive services people and the work they conducted, if there was an outcry from our members about things being done wrong or any kind of fraud or those types of issues, we would have heard of those,” he said. "We've not heard any consumer cry that there's an issue with these people doing this business.”

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