I attended the Alaska Veterinary Board meeting on Oct. 29 in Fairbanks to discuss the need for more veterinary services in the villages and to show support for Dr. Eric Jayne, who helps rural Native people.
I am an Alaska Native fisherman, and, for background, I have been attending state Board of Fisheries meetings my entire life, so I have a pretty good idea how meetings are run.
The vet board listened to our concerns about the lack of vet care in the villages because they had to, but it's obvious they are not going to do anything about it. Jayne and many of the vet groups, including the Humane Society, are professionals at rural surgery. They travel around the world doing remote vet clinics, and the only vet board they have problems with is the Alaska vet board. They don't have problems with vet boards anywhere else in the world except here.
The Alaska vet board has gone so far as to make it difficult for a traveling Christian veterinary group whose mission is to spread the word and provide veterinary services to under-served communities in collaboration with local churches.
The state of Alaska terminated our main veterinarian to 72 remote Native communities and at the same time cut the rabies vaccination program to many of the same communities.
We are not asking for a handout. All we asked is that they stop blocking legitimate services to our villages that are no cost to the state and reinstate Jayne, our village veterinarian.
The complaint filers announced in public Jayne's clinics would cost them financially before they filed complaints against his license. This initiated the investigation which led to a demand for Jayne to surrender his license. And now the board says Jayne surrendered his license "voluntarily."
The governor needs to take a close look at how the vet board is carrying on its business. If no one speaks up about this, everyone will think the situation is OK, but it's not. Quality of veterinary services has never been the issue here. The vet board is out of excuses, and we all know this is about revenue.
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