Allow Pet Massage, redefine "Animal Rehabilitation"
This petition made change with 1,361 supporters!
Who is the VMB?
The California Veterinary Medical Board is a state agency charged with the protection of animals through the regulation of all veterinary workers and care.
Why do they care about massage?
Their claim of concern is about protecting the public from the "large number" of unqualified people practicing "Animal Rehabilitation" and putting the animals they work with at risk. The definition of Animal Rehabilitation that the VMB is using has become more broad, and the types of people “qualified” to perform it more restrictive. Their desire is to declare animal massage a veterinary practice that should only be performed by a medical professional.
How are they restricting massage?
The VMB is seeking to prevent massage professionals from working with animals, even ones like myself who are certified and insured to be working with animals. The new language they propose to implement on September 10th, 2015, makes any and all types of animal massage unavailable to the public and puts it entirely in the hands and control of a veterinarian. They propose that only a registered and licensed Veterinary Technician, licensed Physical Therapist, or licensed Veterinarian can perform massage on any animal, and that the massage must be supervised by a veterinarian who is on the premises at all times while the massage is being performed. Please keep in mind that none of these professionals need to be educated or trained in massage for either animals or people.
So what, or, Why should you care?
- Except for specific and rare cases, and as an integral part of certain physical therapy programs, massage is not considered a medical practice anywhere in the world. It has the lowest rate of complaint and claims (legal and insurance) than any hands-on therapy. While it's known to have many health benefits it has little to no ill effects. The regulation of massage by cities, counties, and states is almost always to control illicit and/or sexual massage, not because it's considered a dangerous activity that the public has to be protected from.
- Animal massage is the same as human massage - it offers benefits and has no known ill effects when performed by a conscientious professional, and presents no danger to animals. While there may be untrained and unqualified people claiming to be physical therapists or massage practitioners working on animals, the VMB’s proposed language prevents people legitimately qualified to do this work from doing it, but condones people not necessarily trained in the art of massage as the only ones who can.
- Animal Massage is readily accessible to any consumer as a wellness and self-regulated care activity, as is human massage. It does not have to be prescribed by a medical professional and the service is engaged freely by the consumer, as is human massage. The VMB is proposing to deny the public access to professional animal massage and force them to purchase the service through a veterinary (medical) office, and have the service performed by someone who is not necessarily trained or experienced in any type of massage.
- The proposed language denies the public access to in-home services, therefore excluding people with disabilities from retaining the service for their pets. It also excludes persons who have a physical or financial inability to bring their animal to a veterinary clinic from retaining in-home services.
- The new language and legislation is exclusionary, unnecessary, proposes a Monopoly and also falls under Unfair Trade and Unfair Competition laws. These are all federally illegal, and the VMB will be acting against these laws if the legislation is passed.
- The new language will prevent anyone not a vet, vet tech or pt with a vet in tow to perform animal massage anywhere in California for any reason. That means anyone volunteering animal massage in a shelter or rescue will no longer be able to do so.
I agree with the VMB denying unqualified practitioners the right to practice, but including any and all types of animal massage and manual therapy in their language is too restrictive, creates a monopoly on a normally publicly available service, punishes local and small businesses, and places what is considered a skilled service in the hands of people not necessarily trained to perform that service.
Please support the consumers' freedom, and massage professionals' rights by signing this petition or submitting the letter directly. If you submit directly by mail or email please send to both people named as a stop gap.
Please note the VMB must receive the letter NO LATER that 5:00pm on September 10th, 2015.
*We're just asking the VMB to modify their language to omit professional massage services from their description of "Animal Rehabilitation", and to modify the language to allow professional qualified massage practitioners the freedom to continue to offer their services to the public.*
If you want to read about the law and the proposed changes follow the first 3 links on the top left on this link under "Animal Rehabilitation":
CVMB Animal Rehabilitation Regulations
If you want to learn more about animal massage read my (slightly out of date) webpage:
Happy Hounds Massage
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