CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
The Family Policy Council has issued a statement expressing opposition to House Bill 3202, a measure relating to state regulation of equine dentistry. As a vote on the measure nears in the state Senate, a statement came to CapitolBeatOK late yesterday from Michael Jestes, the group's executive director.
Equine dentists support H.B. 3202, dubbed the Veterinary Practice Act, saying they would help protect the private property rights of horse owners around the state. Allies of the equine dentists include the Institute of Justice, a Washington, D.C. civil liberties lobbying firm.
Critics organized opposition over the past two years. It intensified this year and has included a full-page advertisement in The Oklahoman, the state's largest newspaper. Some veterinarians and physicians have warned that passage would endanger horses and potentially open the doors for easier public access to dangerous horse tranquilizers and drugs, including some that can used for abortion and “date rape” on humans.
In Oklahoma, unlicensed “teeth floating” has been illegal for almost 20 years. Since 1990, it has been a misdemeanor for someone without a veterinary license to prescribe or administer any veterinary drugs or perform animal dentistry. The law allow owners of farm animals to administer drugs under certain circumstances, but prescriptions must be written by a licensed “vet,” after first establishing a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship.
Following 2008 legislation that made unlicensed teeth floating a felony due to its use of narcotics and a high-profile arrest, a push began for legalization of equine “teeth floating.” A 2009 bill lessened the penalty for practicing equine dentistry without a license and returned the crime to a misdemeanor. The new legislation, sponsored by Rep. Don Armes of Faxon, moves to legalize it altogether.
The full text of the statement from Michael Jestes of the Oklahoma Family Policy Council follows:
"Oklahoma Family Policy Council is committed to advancing public policies that strengthen families, encourage responsible citizenship, and create a healthy family-friendly culture in Oklahoma.
“We believe most Oklahomans want all dangerous abortion drugs, including those purposed for animals, safeguarded and regulated in strict compliance with the FDA-approved protocol for abortion drugs.
"Just this week, on Monday, the Oklahoma House of Representatives approved Senate Bill 1902, which requires a physician to be present whenever RU-486 is administered to women; likewise, we believe the same strict oversight on other abortifacient drugs used by veterinarians may be warranted, especially when these veterinary drugs can easily be misused by others if not regulated appropriately.
“Despite recent constitutional challenges by our courts, Oklahoma now ranks as the second most pro-life state in the U.S., according to Americans United for Life. That’s good news. H.B. 3202, if approved, may invalidate some of the hard work that you, the members of the state Legislature, have accomplished to protect innocent human life for Oklahoma families.
“ 'As legislators, you already know of the societal problems that result from so-called 'date-rape drugs.' If H.B. 3202 is approved, we foresee that word will spread quickly among the state’s population that a new back door way exists to access abortion drugs. When and if that happens, fellow Oklahomans will likely be harmed and the effects from such drug misuse will be directly contrary to the pro-life policies the state Legislature has already pursued with other pro-life legislation, such as S.B. 1902, referenced above.
“OFPC believes H.B. 3202 warrants the Oklahoma State Senate’s most serious and thoughtful consideration because uncontrolled access and possession of dangerous abortifacient drugs, even those of the veterinary kind, could likely pose an unintended and demonstrable threat to the unborn, to children, and to women across Oklahoma.”
NOTE: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report