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 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 Alaska vet board is a dictatorship. They 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.
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 our village veterinarian, Jayne, who had complaints filed against him by competing veterinarians because they thought he was under-cutting their profits. How convenient — file a complaint against your competitor and have him relentlessly investigated to reduce competition.
The governor needs to take a close look at how the vet board is carrying on its business. Coincidentally, the vet board and the dental board have some of the same supporting staff.
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.