A License to FIX
“THE KEY to ending shelter killing and overpopulation forever is a nationally recognized veterinary license specifically for veterinarians trained in high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter.” Emma Clifford, Founder and CEO of Animal Balance.
I have said this everyday since Animal Balance USA began in January of 2019. I believe that this is not only possible but essential to the progression of animal welfare in the USA.In order for us to reach our national goal of “No Kill/Zero Kill/Less Kill /High Save" whatever you label it, we must shift our focus to spay/neuter and we must make it possible for the incredibly talented high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter trained veterinarians to do what they are so very good at doing: sterilizing mass numbers of cats and dogs safely and efficiently.Animal Balance started AB USA in early 2019, and our teams were on the ground by August. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of our awesome partners, supporters and volunteers, our teams have now sterilized well over 2,000 animals in four states. We are bridging the gap, providing the missing link, if you will, because we all know that the only way to stop overpopulation is to start at the source. If we do not, we will simply continue what we are currently doing - a perpetual loop of adoption and transport.We have found our niche in the USA and we want to increase our ability to hold high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter clinics in areas that do not have affordable or accessible spay/neuter services; areas where the local shelter is packed with animals, and is either scrambling to transport to other states, or killing them, or a combination of both.The biggest challenge that the AB USA program has faced over the past year is that the majority of states who desperately need our services do not allow out-of-state veterinarians to work in their state. Each state has a different requirement for obtaining a license, which can be confusing and time-consuming to navigate. In most states, it takes at least a few months time and a fair amount of documentation, and sometimes testing, to obtain a license; valuable time which could’ve been spent deploying teams to address the need and prevent more animals from being killed.Rules for veterinarians practicing in different states were created for a different time in history when shelter systems were managed very differently than they are today. It was prior to significant numbers of US veterinarians being trained as high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter surgery specialists and before communities paid much attention to what happened to unwanted animals.Things have changed. Today we know. Today we no longer look the other way. Today we take action and we have an army of specially trained veterinarians across the country who are ready to deploy to the areas where they are needed most.We are all working to make progressive changes within our communities for animal protection, welfare, and rights. We have different methods and different names for what we are doing, but we all have the same goal: to save as many animals as possible and end the suffering and death once and for all. Everyone who takes action is an animal warrior and no matter where you are, YOU have the power to ignite social change in your state.What we need now is to get our high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter MASH veterinarians, who do not live in the areas where the service is needed, into the states that need them and get them permission to do what they do best! We can do this on a state by state basis as we work towards an accepted national standard.We can FIX this. We have the vets. We have techs. We have the partners on the ground. We have interest from key foundations who understand that this is the answer we’ve been looking for and who want to fund this crucial work. We have 16 years of experience working to provide high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter clinics in every situation imaginable and using the highest medical standards to do so.Our teams can safely fix 100 plus animals in one day. Yes, one day - IF we are able to get our veterinarians on the ground in the states where this work is needed most, we know we can have a massive impact in a short amount of time. We LOVE doing these clinics together and we are really good at it!Many of our veterinarians already hold multiple state veterinary licenses, sometimes up to 20 of them! They must renew each license every year and it isn’t cheap! It is insulting to veterinarians who have already been through extensive training and undergone years of education at prestigious universities. They should be allowed to help where they see a need without having to sit for more exams and pay annual license fees in every single state. If the general public can drive in every state with a license from another state, why can’t these highly skilled professionals be allowed to perform spay/neuter surgeries in another state on a short term basis?Do you want to help change this? Does your state have temporary veterinary licenses for out of state vets who want to volunteer on spay/neuter clinics in your state? Find out.Call your state medical veterinary board and ask them. If they don’t already offer temporary licenses, explain why they need to. Email them and ask your friends to do the same. Ask for your letters to be presented at their board meetings. Their job is to protect their state veterinarians, uphold veterinary practices, provide special licenses for the betterment of animals in their state. They are the responsible party. Hold them to it. You have a voice, please use it. Simply by asking these important questions, you are igniting change.Use the state of Texas in your conversations with them as Texas just changed their licensing process to allow out of state high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter vets to get temporary licenses in their state. Guess what? We now have the ability to fix Texas and stop the killing. So we are gearing up to do just that. We’ll keep you posted!Which state will be next? If you live in a place like Louisiana, which is where I am flying home from right now, your state does not allow out of state vets to practice here. As a consequence, it’s going to take a VERY long time to fix your state. The fantastic, awesome, highly skilled high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter vets from your state are working their butts off to fix as many as they can, but they need help. I know first hand as I literally just worked alongside them in the Parish of St. Landry, where the animal welfare situation has been grim for a very long time. They need more help. Your state has to make changes to your legislation to get these veterinarians on the ground as soon as possible.Write to your vet board and let them know that. These are specialized vets with a unique skill. They can perform around 40 surgeries each in a day. These vets are like no other vets, their spay and neuter skills are extraordinary. Their techniques are efficient and safe. They are experts and brilliant at what they do. These vets are going to solve overpopulation in your state. Forever.Remember nothing is impossible and the animals and vets need you to stand up for them and fight for these changes.We are the new wave of animal protection, welfare, and rights. We are direct action with a smile. We are professional, skilled, smart, experienced and ready to stand at our surgery tables for 10 plus hours a day and fix 500 animals in a week. We can fix your shelter backlog, your puppy mill bust busted animals, your hoarding case animals, we can fix your community's animals, we can fix the problem at its source, if you simply give us a chance.Let us in!Your state will save taxpayer dollars as they won’t need to house, feed, clean and then kill thousands of animals.Because your state will not kill thousands of animals any longer, kindness spreads, which in turn ignites massive social change.Your state will no longer need to transport mass numbers of animals to other states - shifting both the burden and funding to someone else. It is then solved at the source.We hope that the major foundations who fund animal welfare will go back to funding spay and neuter in your community as we must shift our focus to reach our goal of becoming No Kill/Low Kill/High Save, etc, etc. as soon as possible.Finally, we want to thank the states of Louisiana, Texas, Florida and Oklahoma for challenging us like this in the past six months. You have shined a light on this problem and helped us to devise a solution.Thank you to Texas for realizing that this is THE KEY and creating temporary vet licenses. You get it.To all the other states who are stuck in the killing cycle, we look forward to fixing your state as soon as your vet board will let us in.You have the power to make these changes in your state.Make that call, send that email. Ignite social change with your state’s veterinary medical board first and then watch the domino effect happen.Thanks for taking the time to read this, I know you are very busy and I do respect your time. Please spread the word, talk about this, take action and use your power.Remember, 16 years ago they told us over and over that we couldn’t fix the Galapagos dogs and cats. Now, 71% are fixed. Social change has taken place and continues to take place as we work with local government to help implement a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance which will protect all species who share the islands.Help us, let’s do this here.
With respect for you all,
P.S. I’m happy to hear from you on this. Please share your ideas with us. Change happens when we all work together towards a common goal.
Dear (President of your state vet med board),
As a citizen of ______ state and animal welfare advocate, I am writing to you today to inquire as to whether or not our state offers temporary veterinary licenses for visiting veterinarians who would like to share their skills by providing high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter in our state. As someone who has worked (in shelters, rescues, local veterinary practices) I have seen first hand that there are simply not enough homes for all of the cats and dogs in _______(state). The most effective solution to this problem is to provide affordable and accessible spay/neuter services for our communities. By offering temporary licensing for out of state veterinarians who are trained in high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter, you are providing the opportunity to create a sustainable solution to the overpopulation problem in _____ (state). Our local shelters, rescues and spay/neuter clinics are doing all they can to save as many lives as possible, but they need help. All across the country high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter clinics are safely and efficiently sterilizing hundreds of animals in three or four day clinics, paving the way for there to come a time when there are enough homes for all of the cats/dogs. In order to host clinics like this, we need access to temporary veterinary licenses to bring in these specially trained veterinarians to perform sterilization surgeries only for a limited amount of time in order to humanely decrease the population and end killing in our local shelters. If you are not already offering temporary licenses, please consider doing so. The state of Texas recently began offering temporary licenses and animal welfare groups are already beginning to pour in to help provide relief for local shelters and rescues through providing high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter. We hope you’ll join them! Many thanks in advance for your consideration of my request.