AAEP’s Role in Advocacy & Scope of Practice

The AAEP supports the practice of equine veterinary medicine and will support state and provincial efforts to defend such practice by working with and providing resources to members and their recognized state and provincial veterinary medical associations (VMA). Additionally, the AAEP will communicate with its members within each state/province as requested to share advocacy (legislative and/or regulatory) information.

However, state and provincial advocacy, especially issues pertaining to “scope of practice,” are best managed at the local level and not by a national organization like the AAEP. The AAEP does not offer lobbying services nor retain a lobbying firm; however, many states VMAs do and are best suited to support such advocacy.

Here are a few steps to consider if you learn of legislative or regulatory efforts occurring or coming up in the future that may positively or negatively impact equine welfare and/or the veterinary profession in your state/province.

  1. Inform the AAEP. In many cases, you may be aware of an issue arising in your state before the AAEP does.
  2. AAEP staff will reach out to the state VMA to learn more on the issue and offer available resources on the subject.
  3. AAEP, if requested by a state VMA, will offer a letter of support or non-support depending on the position of the VMA.
  4. State officials care what their constituents think. Contacting your local representative or attending a hearing in person and voicing your concern is always the most effective way to combat negative legislation. AAEP encourages all members to join and be active within their local/state VMA.

AAEP staff work closely with state VMAs as well as AVMA’s state government relations team members. Should you or your VMA need resources or assistance from AAEP, please contact Keith Kleine, AAEP staff liaison, at kkleine@aaep.org or (859) 233-0147.


Veterinarian’s Role in Advocacy & Scope of Practice

Tips and facts that can impact advocacy & scope of practice:

  1. Scope of Practice is determined by your state/provincial legislature.
    a. The state/provincial veterinary practice act consists of statutes (enacted by the legislature) and regulations/rules (initiated by the veterinary board then) which clarify the statute.
    b. Scope of practice is outlined by the definition of “veterinary medicine” in the statutes
    c. The statutes often contain exemptions that allow non-licensees to perform duties that are otherwise defined as the practice of veterinary medicine. This is often the tact taken by others to change a practice act.
    d. Contact your state VMA or Veterinary Medical Board to access your individual state statutes/practice act.
  2. State/Provincial veterinary medical boards have limited regulatory authority and are challenged when attempting to regulate unlicensed professionals.
  3. Legislation is driven mostly by public opinion, the loudest voice, the most active individuals (including lobbyists), and dollars (Political Action Committees [PAC] – those who fund legislator campaigns).
  4. Veterinarians must become involved at the local level through:
    a. Knowing your own state/provincial practice act
    b. Joining and becoming active within your state/provincial veterinary medical association
    c. Being active through state/provincial grassroots activities
    d. Donating to your state//provincial VMA PAC


Additional Resources


Position on Practice of Veterinary Medicine
Position on Roles of Healthcare Providers in Veterinary Medicine
Position on Levels of Supervision



State Veterinary Medical Associations
State Veterinary Medical Board Websites
Scope of Practice Issues
Model Veterinary Practice Act
Duties of Veterinary Technicians and Assistants

Authority of Veterinary Technicians and Other Non-Veterinarians to Perform Dental Procedures – 2021
State & Local Advocacy
State Legislative Updates


American Association of Veterinary State Boards Website
Consumer Rights & FAQ


Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
British Columbia