Eagle Post: How To Take Your Dog Just About Anywhere

Tom Donnelly writes on veterinary matters in the USA.

In June, a miniature Yorkshire terrier caused a fuss at a fancy Manhattan restaurant. From a Google review of Altesi Ristorante: “Lunch was ruined because Ivana Trump sat next to us with her dog which she even let climb to the table. I told her no dogs allowed but she lied that hers was a service dog.” Internet discussions said the owner of Altesi, Paolo Alavian, defended Trump. “She walked into the restaurant and she showed the emotional-support card,” he said. “Basically, people with the card are allowed to bring their dogs into the restaurant. This is the law.”
Signor Alavian is mistaken: it’s not the law.

To digress briefly, several years ago in this column, I wrote about the growing trend of people with mental illnesses relying on what are known as therapy, comfort or “emotional support” animals (ESAs) to stem the symptoms of their illness. In New York genuine individuals were challenging landlords in court over rules that did not allow pets in rental apartments. However, such situations set two rights in conflict – the renter’s right to cope with a medical condition and the landlords’ right to control and maintain their property. The New York trend has become a nation-wide trend as illustrated by a recent three-year legal battle in Washington state that involved the federal government, Scrappee Anne, a miniature schnauzer, and her owner Diana Alton a 65-year-old woman who has post-traumatic stress disorder, clinical depression and cannot work. Alton’s landlords required her to pay a $1,000 pet deposit for her apartment. In November 2014 the landlords, Linda and Bert Barber, after incurring $175,000 in legal fees fighting Alton and the U.S. Department of House and Urban Development (HUD), which represented her, agreed to pay a $25,000 settlement to Alton and the government just to end it all. Continue reading Eagle Post: How To Take Your Dog Just About Anywhere

Pigeon Post: Ian Neville writes from the UK

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeon’s RCVS Survey of the Veterinary Professions 2014 was published online in September. According to the RCVS it provides a ‘snapshot of the current state of the veterinary and veterinary nursing professions.’ The four-yearly survey was carried out by the independent Institute for Employment Studies and collated responses from 6,988 RCVS registered veterinary surgeons (27 per cent of the profession) and 3,612 registered/listed veterinary nurses (31 per cent of the profession) across a wide range of work related issues.

Naturally different conclusions about the status of the professions can be drawn depending on the reader’s standpoint, but the results do clarify the actuality underlying some widely held perceptions. For instance the continued ‘feminisation’ of the veterinary profession as for the first time Continue reading Pigeon Post: Ian Neville writes from the UK

Kiwi Post: Lean food production

I was presenting at a meeting the other day. And it seemed to go quite well. I was pontificating on the usual: something vaguely technical with sideswipes at all and sundry. At the end of it, after the questions and polite thanks, we headed off for the tea and biscuits, when a rather daunting lady made a beeline for me.

I could sense trouble, but she disarmed me straight away by telling me what a good presentation it had been and how persuasive my argument was. Then she said, casually, “all a load of bull, but persuasive nevertheless.” So I was intrigued, and mildly concerned. Would she have some esoteric technical argument to negate me? Had I upset MPI with mention of our biosecurity mismanagement? Continue reading Kiwi Post: Lean food production

Eagle Post: too many vets?

Thomas Donnelly, BVSc DipVP DipACLAM reports from the US.

You may have seen the US Veterinary Workforce Study published by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently, or read the reports in Veterinary Record (May 2013, Vol 172, Issue 18) that suggest the supply of veterinarians in the USA may be exceeding demand for their services. Although specific to the US, as concerns are also being expressed about a likely oversupply of vets in Australia, the findings are of great interest.

The findings support a February 24 story in the New York Times entitled “High debt and falling demand trap new vets.” The story described a 30-year old vet, Hayley Schafer working in Gilbert, Arizona with $312,000 owing in student loans and depicts a profession bogged down by exorbitant educational costs, a looming oversupply of practitioners and the public’s declining demand for pet health care. Comments on Veterinary Information Network (VIN) reached fever pitch garnering more than 400 posts. Specifically, the results suggest that approximately 12.5 per cent of veterinary services in the US went unused in 2012 and that demand for veterinary services was sufficient to employ only 78,950 of the 90,200 vets currently working in clinical and non-clinical settings. The AVMA further suggested that excess capacity is likely to persist for the near future, even if US veterinary colleges were to limit expansion in enrolment. The study predicts the excess capacity will range from 11-14 per cent annually until 2025. Overcapacity is greatest in equine practice (23 per cent), followed by small animal (18 per cent), food animal (15 per cent) and mixed practice (13 per cent).

Many US veterinarians are already angry with the AVMA for recently accrediting Ross University in the Caribbean, which graduates over 300 veterinarians per year, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico. At present, there are 28 AVMA accredited schools in the US and 11 in other countries (including three in Australia and one in New Zealand). Another two new veterinary schools – Midwestern University in Arizona and Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee – remain on track to open in 2014. Continue reading Eagle Post: too many vets?

Crimson Post: Welcome the Year of the Water Dragon!

Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, DRAGON, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig

January 23 marked the beginning of the year of the water dragon for all who celebrated the lunar new year. For many in Asia, this is perhaps the most celebrated day of the year. A highly anticipated year purely from the fact that it is the year of the water dragon. The Chinese zodiac is based on a 12-year cycle, with each year represented by a different animal. Interestingly, the dragon is the only ‘animal’ in the cycle that is a mythical creature and not a real animal at all. It is generally accepted and believed that the year in which one is born holds great significance in the person’s life. Your character traits, personality, temper, outlook on life, mindset and even your future partner depends on the year you were born and the animal which you have been inexplicably tied to. Essentially, many of these character traits can be tied into a very general understanding of these animals, or even subscribed to a popular belief of what these animals should be. For example, a person born in the year of an ox is a hard-worker, the snake year is a sly one, dogs and tigers are energetic and you can already make a guess about the pig year. Growing up in a Chinese household, my upbringing was fairly liberal and ‘westernised’, however, I could never escape that hold that the Chinese zodiac had on my life and how ingrained it was into my family, friends and society. I could never accept that there were only 12 character traits in millions of people, however, I will find myself unknowingly musing about certain similarities or coincidences. Continue reading Crimson Post: Welcome the Year of the Water Dragon!