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59TH CONGRESS | HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. 2d Session.' }
PRACTICE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE IN THE DISTRICT
JANUARY 25, 1907.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.
Mr. TAYLOR, of Ohio, from the Committee on the District of Columbia,
submitted the following
[To accompany S. 5698.]
The Committee on the District of Columbia, to whom was referred the bill (S. 5698) to regulate the practice of veterinary medicine in the District of Columbia, report the same back to the House with the recommendation that it do pass, when amended as follows:
Page 8, strike out all commencing with the word “or” in line 8, where it appears the second time, down to and including the comma after the word “purposes” in line 10.
Page 8, line 13, strike out the period and insert a colon and add the following:
Provided, That any person may without compensation apply any medicine or rem, edy and perform any operation for the treatment, relief, or cure of any sick, diseased, or injured animal.
Relative to a bill to regulate the practice of veterinary medicine in the District of Columbia (S. 5698) the following facts are submitted:
Laws regulating the practice of veterinary medicine bave been enacted in 26 States, including Virginia and Maryland. In the District of Columbia, however, such practice is absolutely unrestricted. As a consequence incompetent practitioners of veterinary medicine driven from other jurisdictions are likely to locate in this District. If, therefore, it is desirable to exclude incompetent veterinary surgeons from the District of Columbia, legislation should be directed to that end. The community at large or individual members of it have not sufficient means at present with which to protect themselves against injury due to incompetence on the part of veterinary surgeons or to secure redress for such injury as may result therefrom.
There are, however, certain injuries liable to result from the incompetence of veterinary surgeons for which no sufficient redress has been or can be provided, and it is for the prevention of these injuries that it becomes necessary for the State to determine the qualifications of would-be practitioners of veterinary medicine. Among injuries of this kind may be mentioned cases in which an award in money might atford adequate compensation, but the evidence necessary to warrant such an award can not ordinarily be obtained, and the extent of the damage, proximate and remote, is liable to be far beyond the ability of any ordinary veterinary surgeon to pay. Another class of cases is that which involves the loss of human life. Such loss, of course, no money can make good.
Erroneous diagnoses, due to incompetence on the part of veterinary surgeons, may precipitate upon the community outbreaks of communicable diseases-such, for instance, foot-and-mouth disease, glanders, rabies, etc. In such cases it is now impossible to maintain a suit against an incompetent veterinary surgeon even though possessed of sufficient evidence of his incompetence. Cases, however, involving failure to diagnose glanders or rabies, both of which diseases are communicable to man, may result in the death of human beings. The same is true, of course, with reference to failure to diagnose various other diseases which are liable to affect cattle, sheep, and hogs, as through the sale of milk from diseased cattle and of meat from any of the animals mentioned, if in a diseased condition, sickness and death among human beings may occur.
There is another reason for restricting the right to practice veterinary medicine to those who are known to be qualified so to do differing somewhat from those already mentioned. In so far as the diagnoses and treatment of any injury or disease from which an animal is suffering is erroneous just so far is the suffering of that animal likely to be prolonged and its recovery or improvement possibly prevented. The exclusion, therefore, of incompetent practitioners of veterinary medicines from any jurisdiction is an essential step toward the prevention of unnecessary suffering on the part of domestic animals living therein.
The enactment of suitable legislation for the regulation of the practice of veterinary medicine is not only justitiable, but is imperatively required. The provisions of this bill are more or less similar to those regulating the practice of medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy in this District.
In fact, the recent law regulating the practice of pharmacy recognizes a veterinary surgeon as a qualitied person to prescribe a drughabit drug, and yet the laws of the District of Columbia do not recog. nize veterinary surgeons or define their qualifications to practice their art, and at present the various tyro with a smattering of Latin can prescribe for whisky, cocaine, morphine, chloral, and other drug-babit drugs, subscribing himself John Doe, V. S., which means the greatly misused title “horse doctor," or veterinary surgeon.
This bill authorizes the Commissioners of the District to appoint a board of veterinary surgeons to pass upon the qualifications of wouldbe practitioners of veterinary medicine and to license such as may be found qualified. The rights of those already engaged in such practice are duly protected and provision is made for the recognition of licenses issued by State and Territorial boards of examiners in veterinary medicine. Suitable penalties are provided for the violation of the law, and, generally speaking, the bill may be said to be satisfactory.
The amendments recommended by your committee to section 8 are for the purpose of permitting any person to perform any operation
for the treatment, relief, or cure of any sick, diseased, or injured animal, and to apply any medicine or remedy; but such person not to claim to be a veterinary surgeon or to ask or to receive compensation for such service.
The proposed bill is in the interest of the public and is not designed to further in any way the interests of veterinary surgeons as a class. It acts in conjunction with the general pharmacy law, the new Federal meat-inspection laws, and the laws regulating the practice of veterinary medicine in our border States of Maryland and Virginia and 34 other States.
The following briefly explains the provisions of the various sections:
Section 1 describes how the board is appointed, term of office, and penalty for neglect of duty.
Section 2 describes the election of the officers of the board, administration of oaths, the making of rules and regulations to carry into effect the provisions of this act, the keeping of official records and official register of all licenses, the time of meeting and the bonding of its officers.
Section 3 describes the qualifications necessary for an applicant to apply for license, the fee, the creation of a fund for expenses and its distribution; the method of examination.
Section 4 provides interstate reciprocity in veterinary licensure.
Section 5 protects graduates already in practice and provides for their license without examination. It also provides that a nongraduate in practice five years previous to the passage of this act shall be examined without fee, and upon proof of satisfactory knowledge of veterinary medicine shall be registered and licensed as a practitioner of veterinary medicine.
Section 6 provides for an appeal from the decision of the said board.
Section 7 provides for the conspicuous display of a license to practice in said District and its examination by the board of examiners at any time.
Section 8 describes who shall be regarded as practicing veterinary medicine, and provides for the treatment of an animal by its owner.
Section 9 exempts veterinary surgeons in the Army or in the employ of the Agricultural Department who are graduates of veterinary colleges and regularly licensed veterinarians in actual consultation from other States.
Section 10 provides for the revocation of license in case of fraud or deception in passing examinations, chronic inebriety, or the conviction of crime involving moral turpitude, the method of complaint, and an appeal from the decision to the court of appeals of the District of Columbia.
Section 11 defines the limits of the fine or imprisonment for violation of the provisions of this act.
Section 12 appoints the corporation counsel or one of his assistants to prosecute all the violations of the provisions of this act.
This measure was drafted by the Commissioners of the District of Columbia and introduced at their request, as will be seen by the following communication on this subject: OFFICE COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
Washinglon, April 14, 1906. DEAR SIR: The Commissioners have the honor to submit herewith a draft of "A bill to regulate the practice of veterinary medicine in the District of Columbia" and to request its early enactment.
This bill has the indorsement of the Veterinary Association of the District of Columbia, and has been revised by the corporation counsel with respect to its form. At present the public and owners of dumb animals suffering from injury or disease in the District of Columbia have no protection from the imposition or errors of veterinary practitioners who are lacking in professional qualifications or personal reputation. The States of Maryland and Virginia have very elaborate and stringent laws on the subject, which should be supplemented by corresponding statutory regulation in this jurisdiction, as contemplated by the measure under consideration, both in the interest of the owners and for the protection of the public from contagion and out of consideration for the suffering animals which should have the most skillful treatment available. Very respectfully,
HENRY B. F. MACARLAND,
President Board of Commissioners District of Columbia. Hon. J. H. GALLINGER,
Chairman of Committee on District of Columbia, United States Senata.