The Beacon Center Legal Foundation announced March 9 that it had filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. The Vet Board recently defined "animal massage" as a form of veterinary medicine, meaning that merely rubbing horses now requires a veterinarian license.
The Beacon Center believes this law is unconstitutional and has filed suit on behalf of Martha Stowe and Laurie Wheeler of Franklin, as both of their careers and livelihoods depend on horse massage therapy. Continuing to practice horse massage therapy subjected them to fines and even potential jail time.
This is the third lawsuit the Beacon Center has filed, winning its first lawsuit against the city of Nashville for its unconstitutional homesharing regulations. The Beacon Center also said it looks likely to get a second legal victory, as the administration of Gov. Bill Haslam has proposed repealing the shampoo licensing scheme as a result of our case challenging that law.
Beacon Center Litigation Director Braden Boucek stated, "We will be putting our energy and resources into making sure that the government restores Laurie and Martha's right to earn an honest living. Both the U.S. Constitution and Tennessee Constitution protect the right to earn a living, meaning individuals have a right to pursue a chosen business or profession free from arbitrary or excessive government interference. This regulation clearly runs afoul of that right. The Vet Board is now requiring a license to rub a horse. It is time we stop criminalizing compassion. What's next, a license to pet your dog or feed your cat?"