In today’s politically charged environment, everyone seems to have an opinion that must be voiced. Free speech is one of the basic tenets of our society, and more and more people feel compelled to promote their agendas. We, as veterinary professionals, seem more disinclined than the average citizen to publicize our views on issues. While this is arguably a good trait, it can be a disservice to our profession regarding legislative topics which affect veterinary medicine, animals, their owners, or the environment.
There are many well-intentioned people in the world who feels strongly on issues, and promote legislation that is intended to right wrongs or solve problems. They pitch their causes to elected officials at local, state, and national levels. These representatives usually have a genuine interest in serving the public, and try to make decisions that they feel would best serve their constituents. However, there is often a lack of research behind these well-intentioned efforts. And we, as educated animal professionals, can do our part by reaching out to these public servants as possible resources for information on issues that impact animal health and veterinary professionals.
It’s as easy as making a phone call or sending an email–even more so if you happen to personally know any of your elected officials. Be adventurous and schedule a face-to-face discussion, or even invite your congressman, mayor, or other elected official to visit your practice. Most are happy to learn more about our profession and our viewpoint on issues. If you want to make your views matter, advocating for veterinary medicine is a great way to start!