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Colorado Alliance of Animal Owners Rights

Click here to join CAAOR
Click to join the CAAOR Yahoo discussion group

Legislative Alert!

Do you want the freedom to take your animal to the holistic practitioner of your choice? Or, are you an animal practitioner in Colorado that would like the freedom to legally practice on animals within the scope of your professional training without having to obtain a veterinary degree? If so, please support this important legislation!

2008 Sponsors of CAAOR's Animal Massage Bill:

Colorado State Representative Wes McKinley
Colorado State Senator Greg Brophy

The 2008 Animal Massage Bill, HB08-1042 passed the House of the Whole on 1/21/08 with a unanimous vote!

Animal Massage Bill HB-1042 with House amendments

Animal Massage Bill Filed 1/4/08

What is CAAOR?

Colorado Alliance for Animal Owners Rights (CAAOR) is a lobbyist organization established in 2006, modeled after a grass roots alliance, the Florida Alliance for Animal Owners Rights (FAAOR) and the Illinois Alliance For Animal Owners Rights (IAAOR). The CAAOR is primarily focused on protecting the right of the animal owner to pursue all facets of animal health care, including complementary, integrative and cooperative health care with or without veterinary referral. We are an owner’s rights organization, not an animal rights organization. We do not consider ourselves to be ‘guardians’ of the animals but we feel strongly that as owners we have the final responsibility for the humane and enlightened care of our companion animals and livestock. Currently there are sister organizations like the FAAOR, the IAAOR and the CAAOR sprouting up all over the country, dedicated to very similar positions. The Alliance is committed to the task of replacing restrictive and over-broad animal health care rules and regulations with common sense, owner-friendly, statutes.

Why support CAAOR?

  • Did you know your right to have your animal massaged without a vet's supervision is in jeopardy?
  • Do you want to pay your vet to supervise your animal massage practitioner?
  • Would you like to take your animal to a massage practitioner, acupressurist, animal communicator, physical therapist or other type of cooperative practitioner?

If you would like to be able to take your animal to the practitioner of your choice without veterinary permission or supervision, please donate to support legislation that will make it your right to do.

Click here to donate today.

Why was CAAOR formed?

In 1999, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) began a national campaign to universally describe veterinary medicine for all state vet boards. Using common boiler-plate language they redefined the 'practice of veterinary medicine' so broadly and vaguely that this language, if enacted into law, could be used to restrict owners, alternative/complementary therapists, massage therapists, breeders, sportsmen, trainers, boarders, equine dentists, farriers, groomers and others from handling animals in any fashion without first consulting or eventually hiring a DVM. The AVMA devised this cookie-cutter strategy after a research study they commissioned predicted the inevitable dwindling of their market share as consumers began to distance themselves from mainstream veterinary medicine in pursuit of complementary and alternative animal health care options. This campaign was largely financed by drug companies and other vested 'joint-venture' corporations who use veterinarians as a clearinghouse for their products. Many working veterinarians were totally opposed to the AVMA Model approach. They were worried it could backfire by holding them legally accountable from a malpractice standpoint for approving therapies and modalities with which they have no training or experience, not to mention burdening them with the additional responsibility to oversee common sense things which breeders, trainers and owners now do with their animals on a daily basis.

Note: While the AVMA takes full credit for instigating the Model Practice Act, they insist they bear no responsibility for its enactment into law from state to state in its various forms.

Why We Had to Organize to Secure Owner’s Rights

After successfully enacting the AVMA Model Practice Act legislation in states like New Jersey and threatening enactment in Florida, it was Illinois' turn in 2003. Illinois House Bill HBO464, the VETERINARY MEDICINE AND SURGERY PRACTICE ACT OF 1994, was re-written to include the new over-broad and restrictive language at its core. A concerned group of people quickly organized and formed the Illinois Alliance for Animal Care Alternatives which eventually became IAAOR. The grass roots response against the passage of HB0464 was overwhelming and so the group began to take steps to raise money for further lobbying before it was too late. The end result of this effort was the bill’s Amendment Number Three which gave animal owners the freedom to pursue any humane course of animal care without fear of being charged with illegally practicing veterinarian medicine. It was too late to get the contested, restrictive language actually removed from the bill, but this amendment effectively nullified it. The action and result of the IAAOR’s successful initiative spurred the formation of the CAAOR, encouraged that they may be able to secure animal owner’s rights in Colorado and help to allow Colorado animal body workers the freedom to practice without threat of legal action by the CVMA (Colorado Veterinary Medical Association). In response to a written inquiry to the CVMA in 2005 by the IAAMB, International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork, the CVMA wrote “Unlicensed person practicing veterinary medicine are required to do so only under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian. The board looks at each instance individually to determine whether or not something is the practice of vet med and therefore requires veterinary supervision (it depends on what is being done to the animal, if a diagnosis is being made, etc.) Due to the broad language used in their response a follow-up letter was sent to the board on June 13, 2006. The follow-up response was “The board has never formally considered whether or not animal massage is the practice of veterinary medicine so the question has not been dealt with to date”. However, the written CVMA Practice Act of 2004, 12-64-104 (j) states “No person may practice veterinarian medicine in this state who is not a licensed veterinarian. No person may practice artificial insemination or ova transplantation of cattle or other animal species in this state except in accordance with the section 12-64-105 (9) (c). This article shall not be construed to prohibit: j. any person from performing duties other then diagnosis, prescription, surgery, or initiating treatment under the direction and on-the-premise supervision of a licensed veterinarian who shall be responsible for such person’s performance. Given that not many veterinarians are trained in massage (or other cooperative health care modalities) nor do they seem to have the time or interest in directly supervising it, this wording makes it impossible for animal body workers to work in Colorado without the possibility of legal action by the CVMA. The CVMA’s non-committal response and written Colorado Veterinary Practice Act combined with the AVMA’s purely restrictive model makes it nearly impossible for an animal body worker to practice in the state of Colorado without the threat of legal recrimination.

What Can I Do to Protect My Rights as an Animal Owner?


For more information, go here: CAAOR website.



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