in Houston, Texas
Should just anyone be allowed to perform dental work on horses? Licensing foes to protest today
Friday, Aug 20, 2010, 10:44AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
filing horse teeth

"First they came for the horse teeth floaters and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a horse teeth floater.
Then they came for the eyebrow threaders and I didn't speak up because I wasn't an eyebrow threader.
Then they came for the wig servicers and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a wig servicer.
Then they came for me and by that time there was no one to speak up."

(With apologies to Pastor Martin Niemöller for having taken liberties with his famous repudiation of apathy in Nazi Germany.)

The Institute for Justice, which has been speaking up, forcefully, for eyebrow threaders and wig servicers, will continue its struggle on behalf of horse teeth floaters at noon today at Republic Square Park, across the street from the offices of the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. The nonprofit Libertarian legal aid group will be joined at the rally by the Libertarian Party of Texas.

While you might ask what is a horse teeth floater, the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners would like to be able to answer: a job that can only be done by a licensed veterinarian.

The board has been trying for a few years to persuade the Legislature to require the licensing of floating, the practice of filing the pointed rear molars of horses to aid their chewing.

No one knows how many horse teeth floaters in Texas might be affected by a change in the law, although the number is almost certainly small. The International Association of Equine Dentistry, a trade group including licensed and unlicensed teeth floaters, claims about 300 members worldwide.

The Institute for Justice believes this is one more unnecessary government intrusion upon an arcane field that needs no regulation. The Institute continues to wage a fight to allow unfettered use of cotton thread to remove unwanted hair from the eyebrow and the free repair and styling of hair replacements. Interior designers, karate instructors and locksmiths have also gotten help from the Institute in resisting licensing in Texas.

According to its website, the Institute says that over the past 50 years government agencies have gone from licensing about 3 percent of the American workforce to licensing 35 percent.

Robert Butler, the executive director of the Libertarian Party of Texas, says this is an attempt to give an organized group, veterinarians, a government-sanctioned corner on a market that isn't exactly booming. Requiring floaters to get a veterinary degree "is like saying you need to become an architect in order to work as a carpenter," Tom Allen, a Missouri floater and licensed veterinarian told the Wall Street Journal in a story about the licensing fight.

In 2008 Oklahoma passed a law similar to that envisioned by the Veterinary Medical Examiners in Texas. After the arrest of one of the biggest rodeo cowboys in Oklahoma for teeth floating on the side, public pressure forced the law to be repealed last year.

Photo of equine dentistry by flickr user pmarkham, used via a Creative Commons license.

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or

Sunday, 07/15/2012 - 05:43PM

I love this article, and the issue. This article clearly and cleverly hilites the insane side of human nature to fear almost everything, pursue protectionism or legislated 'safety', and unrighteously impact the liberty / freedoms of other neighbors and citizens ... all to the detriment of individual and collective benefit.

This is just one example of the increasingly pervasive mindset that yields individual liberty to government in the name of safety, justice, environment, or any other purported 'good' that can be marketed to legislators and the public.

As one Texas activist said : The freedom we have enjoyed is on trial and we are witnessing the destruction of it because too many Americans fail to understand the binding link between liberty and personal responsibility. As a result, true freedom is lost to another Pharaoh, Caesar, or other failed source.

My own commentary on this issue :

Please keep this article (1282315440) permanently posted on . It is linked by commentary on other webpages.

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