Stephanie WhittExecutive Vice President
The rising tide of government licensing has been drastic over the past half-century. In 1950, just one in 20 American workers required a license or certificate in order to obtain a job. Today, it is estimated that up to 30% of Americans need government permission to earn a living. One cause of this is oftentimes government-sanctioned industry boards look to expand their purview beyond initial legislative intent. Take animal massage therapy for example, a practice that has existed for hundreds of years and is an industry that has quickly increased in size over the past decade. A few years ago, Tennessee’s Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners passed a regulation that defined “animal massage” as a form of veterinary medicine.
The Animal Massage License Repeal Act permanently eliminates the veterinary board’s rule that state lawmakers temporarily halted in the 2017 legislative session. It allows Tennesseans looking to enter the profession to practice with minimal regulations to protect animals without an onerous government license.
What the Bill Does
Under the Animal Massage License Repeal Act, the definition of animal massage therapy is clarified to prevent practitioners from inadvertently practicing veterinary medicine. Meanwhile, Tennesseans are free to start businesses or gain employment as animal massage therapists without fear of government regulation or intervention after posting a $25,000 surety bond with the Department of Health.
For practitioners wishing to hold themselves out as “certified animal massage therapists,” the bill creates an optional certification process. Applicants looking to use this title must take 50 hours of training to learn how to avoid delay of care issues and pass an exam showing proficiency in the practice.