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Veterinarians Respond To A.I. Issue;


Editor’s Note: The following three items were sent in by Dr. John Bennett, Middle Tennessee Veterinarian. Tennessee Sen. Jim Tracy told the Report Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2006 that the bill presented below will soon be signed and at that point become law. The practicing of artificial insemination will be deemed a “livestock” procedure. Tracy said, as the bill below states, anyone who was fined for practicing A.I. will be refunded their money. Anyone who was fined but did not pay their fine will be exempt from having to pay the fine.

A Vet’s View

Dr. John Bennett

            I would first of all, like to thank the Walking Horse report, for the chance to give you the veterinarian’s view of the “A.I.” issue that is at the forefront of this year’s breeding season.

            A quick review of where we are; Yes, Ms. Bonnie Cady had a complaint filed against her. Who filed the complaint, I honestly don’t know nor can I find out. I do know that the fact that Ms. Cady was performing “A.I.” was only one of six charges she has against her. As everyone knows, she ultra-sounded, gave prescription drugs, and advertised publicly.

            So, let me give you a real life scenario: Mr. Good Luck has two mares. Both mares were bred 17 days ago. The first mare is ultra-sounded and is found pregnant, the second mare is ultra-sounded and found not pregnant. So, Mr. Good Luck then asks, “Why is she open?” or “What do I do now?” or “What is her problem?” When you answer these questions my friend, you are practicing Veterinary Medicine.

            So, the Health-related Board, which governs us as Veterinarians, had the Investigative branch of the Board do an investigation. Several farms were investigated. All farms involved and all veterinarians involved cooperated fully. After the investigative branch did their thing, letters were sent to farms who were in “violation”. These letters were sent out by the Assistant General Counsel for the Tennessee Department of Health. The letters essentially contained “cease and desist” orders and civil penalties.

            It was at this point, roughly about mid-November, that we as veterinarians became deeply involved. Several questions do come to mind; 1) Why were the majority of the farms investigated in Middle Tennessee? 2) How many cattle farms were investigated? 3) How did they come up with the amount of the fine? I am sure you could add several more questions, however, all of the above were and are at the discretion of the Investigative Branch.

            The farms retained counsel and at this time the issue was not resolved. Ms. Cady’s case did go before the Veterinary Examining Board. The veterinary Examining Board is essentially a jury. They do not investigate, they listen to evidence presented and then enforce the law as written. So at Ms. Cady’s hearing, they voted 3-2 as reported. This too causes confusion.

            Again, let me use an example: If you say, A Tire is the Practice Act in Tennessee, then the Wheel would be the Rules and Regulations. This is to say that the Rules and Regulations (Wheel) cannot exceed the size of the Tire (Practice Act) but, the Rules and Regulations are there to support or clarify. So, the 3-2 vote was not so much if Ms. Cady was guilty of any of the six charges, but rather if the Rules and Regulations exceeded the scope of the Practice Act. Three people on the board thought it didn’t exceed, two people thought it did exceed.

            So, what do we do about our mares? I have enclosed for you to reprint two (2) forms. One is a Position Statement from the Middle Tennessee Academy of Equine Practitioners; the second is the bill that Representative Cobb and Senator Tracy along with The Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association are supporting. The House Bill is #3972 and the Senate Bill is #3937. I would urge all to read both statements and call Representative Cobb or Senator Tracy.

            Will this solve all of our problems, No. However, the horse industry in Tennessee will not go “backwards”, people can breed mares as they see fit and allow time for these issues to get solved. I know I didn’t answer all questions. I am trying to let people know that Veterinarians are trying to help, be available, be responsible, but some of these issue take time to get resolved.

            Thank you for taking time to read this. I will be glad to try to answer your concerns. You can reach me at: Equine Services, LLC, Dr. John Bennett, P.O. Box 5030, Bell Buckle, TN 37020, (615) 289-9736.


Position Statement

Accepted Equine Reproductive Management

            Accepted equine Reproductive Management Techniques are defined as artificial insemination, administration of prescribed medication and semen collection/preparation. These techniques must be done by a veterinarian or under the indirect supervision of a veterinarian within a valid doctor-client-patient relationship. In the case of semen collection/handling, the veterinarian should perform a reproductive exam prior to the entry of a stallion into a breeding program, and periodically during his breeding career. Any procedure which is diagnostic in nature is considered the practice of veterinary medicine and includes but is not limited to palpation per rectum, ultrasound examination, visual and endoscopic examination of the internal reproductive organs, endometrial culture, cytology, and biopsy, hormone assays, surgery, embryo handling and transfer. These procedures must be performed by a licensed veterinarian.

            Indirect supervision is defined as: Services performed upon the written or oral instructions of a licensed veterinarian. The person to provide the services must be designated by the veterinarian. A valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship must exist. The veterinarian does not have to be on the premises for these services to be provided.

The following veterinarians unanimously voted to approve the above Middle Tennessee Academy of Equine Practitioners Position Statement on Monday, February 13th, 2006:


Bryan Alexander, DVM

John Bennett, DVM

Mark Burke, DVM

George Coles, DVM

Krista Gillam, DVM

John Haffner, DVM

Traci Helton, DVM

Matt Lovell, DVM

Tammy Perkins, DVM

Jon Warren, DVM

George Wright. DVM

Randall Baker, DVM

Martha Bennett, DVM

Jennifer M. Byrd, DVM

Sara Covert, DVM

Tresha Grissam, DVM

Greg Harris, DVM

Travis Hensley, DVM

Bob McCullough, DVM

Dan Smith, DVM

Mark Wooten, DVM

Christy Young, DVM

James Baum, DVM

Jim Brogli, Sr., DVM

Margie Carter, DVM

Casey Damron, DVM

Danny Haber, DVM

Donnie Headrick, DVM

John Henton, DVM

Jim McKee, DVM

Mark Smith, DVM

Brian Wright, DVM


Monty McInturff, DVM – President

Matt Povlovich, DVM, - Vice-President

Tony Kimmons, DVM – Treasurer

Victor Wakefield, DVM – Secretary


HOUSE BILL 3972 (Filed for intro on 2/23/2006)

By Cobb


AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code annotate, Title 63, Chapter 12, relative to the artificial insemination of livestock.


SECTION 1. Tennessee Code annotated, Title 63, Chapter 12, Part 1, is amended by adding the following language as a new, appropriately designated section:

62-2-144. For the purposes of this chapter, the practice of veterinary medicine shall not include the artificial insemination of livestock, as the term ‘livestock” is defined in 39-14-201. The practice of artificial insemination shall be considered an accepted livestock management practice.

SECTION 2. Notwithstanding any provision of the law to the contrary, the board of veterinary medical examiners shall refund all monetary fines and civil penalties imposed and collected in fiscal years 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 for the artificial insemination of livestock without a veterinary medical license, upon proper application by a person or persons fined for such practice.


SECTION 3. The provisions of this act shall not be construed to be an appropriation of funs, and no funds shall be obligated or expended pursuant to this act unless such funds are specifically appropriated by the general appropriations act.


SECTION 4. The board of veterinary medical examiners shall promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this act. All such rules and regulations shall be promulgated with the provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 4, Chapter 5.


SECTION 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.


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