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Breeder Wins Case Against State Veterinary Board

On July 15, 2004, Bonnie Cady, Tennessee Walking Horse breeder and trainer of The Horse Hub, Shelbyville, Tenn., was served with a court order for practicing veterinary medicine without a license. A breeder and trainer for over 20 years and graduate of Colorado State University’s breeding program, Cady has stood several stallions, collected semen, artificially inseminated, flushed, administered hormones and antibiotics to encourage inception and ultrasounded mares owned by her and other customers. All activities many consider "normal" for a breeding manager to practice.

However, according to Tennessee law the definition of practicing veterinary medicine includes "the use of any manual or mechanical procedure for artificial insemination, for testing for pregnancy, or for correcting sterility or infertility or to render advice or recommendation with regard to any of the above."

The Tennessee Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners ruled that Cady had engaged in the unlicensed practice of veterinary medicine and assessed a penalty of $17,000; $1,000 for each year Cady allegedly practiced unlicensed veterinary medicine.

Cady made an appeal in March 2005 to the Davidson County Chancery Court and petitioned the Board to determine the validity of the laws regarding licensed veterinary practice. The Court determined that the established laws, when incorporated verbatim, were "overbroad and thus, invalid." Since Cady had not diagnosed or treated an animal for disease or bodily injury and had not treated or diagnosed for sterility or infertility in an animal, the Court decided that inducing and confirming a pregnancy in an animal does not violated the laws of licensed veterinary practice.

At the end of 2007, the Court ruled in favor of Cady and the Legislature was amended so the "practice of veterinary medicine does not include artificial insemination of livestock, including horses. Such artificial insemination is now deemed an accepted livestock management practice."

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