Hundreds of Texas Horse Owners to Join Celebrities At Austin Rally and Press Conference

J. Justin Wilson
J. Justin Wilson · April 11, 2008

Arlington, Va.—Horse owners throughout Texas are coming to the state capital in Austin today to rally in support of equine dental practitioners that are currently under attack from an unconstitutional law. Many are bringing their horses.

Eleven-time World Champion Barrel Racer and Texas icon Charmayne James will deliver a speech to the crowd, which is gathering in the Building Courtyard and Republic Square Park outside the main entrance to the William P. Hobby Building. Horse owner Eleanor Mondale, daughter of former Vice President Walter Mondale, will stand alongside Charmayne, whose speech will immediately follow a 10:00 a.m. press conference led by the Institute for Justice (IJ), a national public interest law firm with a history of defending economic liberty and the rights of entrepreneurs.

In a story that has garnered national media attention by being featured in this week’s edition of The Economist magazine, bureaucrats in Austin have concocted a blatantly anti-competitive regulation that serves the sole purpose of maximizing the incomes of an elitist cartel of veterinarians at the expense of horse owners and Texas entrepreneurs.

“Texas’ absurd licensing scheme is a lose-lose-lose for entrepreneurs, horse owners and horses,” said IJ Senior Attorney Clark Neily. “It puts people with the experience and skill to care for horse teeth out of work, while forcing Texas horse owners to pay more for lower quality care.”

The Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, which scheduled several meetings with Texas equine dentists today in the William P. Hobby Building, is demanding that the dental practitioners spend up to $100,000 and four years at veterinary school, where they learn next to nothing about caring for horses’ teeth, or else abandon their profession. Horses’ teeth grow constantly and thus occasionally need to be filed or “floated”-an important but painless procedure.

In August, IJ filed suit in Travis County District Court in Austin on behalf of four Texas equine dental practitioners and two Texas horse owners. IJ is challenging the licensing scheme as a violation of Texas law and the Texas Constitution.

“Horse tooth care requires hands-on training, experience and horsemanship, none of which come from vet school,” said Lee McGrath, executive director of the Institute for Justice Minnesota Chapter.

This case is the latest in IJ’s nationwide effort to strike down protectionist state laws that stifle entrepreneurship and harm consumers. In May, IJ filed suit in Texas challenging the state’s unconstitutional censorship of interior designers. IJ’s goal is to restore constitutional protection for the right to earn an honest living in the occupation of one’s choice free from excessive government regulation-the right to economic liberty.