Occupational Licensing

Animal Husbandry Workers Freedom & Opportunity Act

Animal husbandry is a specialty in agriculture and animal science. It focuses on breeding and care of farm animals, including cows, pigs, chickens, sheep and horses. Workers play a crucial role in maintaining the health of animals and ensuring the productivity of farms and ranches.

Only a few community and other colleges offer majors in animal husbandry. Fortunately, aspiring workers can acquire requisite knowledge and skills through on-the-job training. This practical learning covers topics like breeding, nutrition, housing, processing, and marketing. Hands-on training, including for procedures such as dehorning, branding, and castrating, is effective and offers workers valuable opportunities to earn while they learn.

Moreover, owners of farms and ranches are well positioned to assess the competence of workers. Owners cannot afford lapses, even on routine tasks. Their oversight ensures that husbandry workers perform competently.

The demand for husbandry workers is on the rise. The primary reason is that most veterinarians focus on cats and dogs. According American Veterinary Medical Association, only 7 percent of veterinarians primarily work with food animals. In contrast, nearly 75 percent exclusively or predominantly serve companion animals. This discrepancy contributes to the need for animal husbandry workers.

The AVMA, despite its own research, often captures boards and supports legislators who preserve occupational licensing laws that give AVMA members control over animal-related services. Similar to many trade associations, the AVMA’s emphasis on safeguarding its interests often is veiled under concerns for customer welfare, animal well-being, or public health. It is important to note, however, that veterinary colleges seldom teach husbandry skills the AVMA advocates for its members to exclusively perform or charge fees for supervising.

What Can State Legislators Do?

The Institute for Justice offers state legislators the Animal Husbandry Workers Freedom & Opportunity Act.

It exempts husbandry workers from veterinary licensing laws, enabling them to pursue their trade without burdensome regulations and undue influence from well-funded trade associations. In doing so, it gives farmers and ranchers the freedom to choose who they hire for husbandry services.