Horse Massage Issue Gets a Fix


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Remember that story we brought you in March about the Tennessee lawsuit involving horse massage?

Well, we can close the loop on that one, at least temporarily.

The Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill (and Governor Bill Haslam signed it) removing the licensure mandate for those wishing to practice horse massage in the state. The votes were unanimous in both houses.

The issue became an issue after two Middle Tennessee practitioners were told they could no longer massage horses without permission and a license from the state veterinary board. Doing so would come with a fine and jail time.

The Beacon Center, a Nashville-based free market think tank, stepped in with a lawsuit.

“When it felt like all hope was lost, the Beacon Center came in and took on my case for free so that I could continue doing what I love for a living, massaging horses,” horse masseuse Martha Stowe said in a news statement from the Beacon Center.

The bill is set to expire in a year on July 1, 2018 but only because lawmakers did not have time to craft more-permanent legislation.

Here’s what a summary of the bill says:

“…specifies that the practice of veterinary medicine does not include massage therapy to animals, which means the manipulation of the soft tissues of the animal body with the intention of positively affecting the health and well-being of the animal.

This therapy does not include the diagnosis, treatment, correction, alleviation, or prevention of any animal disease, illness, pain, deformity, defect, injury, or other physical or mental condition.”

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