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Taxing Veterinary Services: Benefits are Questionable

Thursday, November 27, 2008 by: Susan Thixton
Tags: pet health, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Governor Schwarzenegger of California has proposed a new tax on veterinary services; specifically on veterinary services and treatments. If the California bill gets passed, or if other states plan the same taxation, will the proceeds benefit pets and/or pet owners?

A new proposal in the California 2008-09 Budget plans to tax veterinary services including spays and neutering of animals. The 6,000 members of the California Veterinary Association oppose the new tax, noting the hardship it would have on consumers. Veterinarians are concerned "taxing care beyond affordability will only increase shelter populations past capacity, resulting in even more deaths." http://www.dogmagazine.net/archives/1276/arn...

Should California pass this bill, despite the disproval of California Veterinarians, will other States begin to copy the tax? Would a tax on veterinary services prove to be of any benefit to pets and pet owners, or would it be just another revenue to State Government? Will California or any other State use the dollars received from taxed veterinary services to improve the health and/or life conditions of pets within their state, or will the money be lost in bureaucracy?

One of the huge problems State Governments seems to ignore is homeless pets. California alone euthanizes 400,000 pets every year; at a cost to tax payers of $275 million each year. To understand the depth of the problem nationwide, a total number of euthanized pets in the United States and the cost of these euthanasia's to tax payers, needs to be made public. Unfortunately, these 'numbers' are difficult to find; few states officially report their euthanasia numbers and even fewer report the costs to tax payers. To provide an estimate of pet euthanasia and costs thereof nationwide (using only half of the quoted numbers of California), one can estimate that each state in the U.S. euthanizes 200,000 pets each year at a cost of $135,700,000 million to tax payers from each state, each year. Certainly, some states will be higher, some states will be lower; this is a rough and more than likely conservative estimate.

Therefore, a conservative estimate of euthanized pets in the United States each year is ten million pets. The conservative estimated cost to tax payers for animal shelters to euthanize homeless pets, and pay the costs for the removal of their bodies is…(please be sitting down for this)…$6,785,000,000.00 (that's six billion, seven hundred eighty five million dollars) a year. Just a reminder, this is tax payer money!

Not only is the reality that ten million pets are euthanized each year at a huge cost to tax payers heart breaking, the 'final resting place' of those ten million pets is another concern for all consumers. Most county animal shelters do not have a crematory to dispose of euthanized pets; almost every state in the U.S. does not allow the animal remains to be dumped into landfills. Typically, euthanized dogs and cats across every section of this country are removed by rendering companies; the bodies are cooked (rendered), and the end ingredients are sold to numerous industries. Reportedly, the end ingredients of the rendering process are sold to animal feed industries, and to the cosmetic industry (the rendering industry is extremely secretive about where end products of the rendering process are sold).

Rumors have existed for years that rendered euthanized shelter pets become ingredients into pet food. As if this isn't difficult enough to comprehend and accept, another more substantiated sales point for rendered euthanized pets is to become processed ingredients of farm animal feed; specifically of concern is pellet chicken and fish feed. In other words euthanized pets are being fed to animals that humans consume on a daily basis.

Most tax payers would probably support a tax on veterinary care if and only if, the tax dollars received would be put towards a good cause. The perfect 'good cause' could be to provide ample free and/or low cost spay neuter clinics nationwide. While it is only one part of the solution, ample low cost spay/neuter clinics are mandatory to prevent the useless killings of ten million pets each year.

Imagine if veterinary services were taxed, and if 100% of those tax dollars were put to improve existing free/low cost spay/neuter clinics and to develop countless more; nothing but good could come from it. In 2007, $10.1 Billion was spent in the U.S. for Veterinary care (statistics from American Pet Product Manufacturers Assn.). If half of that revenue was for veterinary services, and subject to a proposed tax, revenue provided to State Government across the U.S. would be estimated at $250 million dollars annually (based on 6% tax). This money could go a long way to prevent useless deaths of pets, greatly lower the existing (close to) $7 billion tax burden to U.S. citizens, and improve the quality of animal feed which in turn would improve the quality of human and pet foods.

Tax paying pet lovers can only hope that State Government will put 'two and two together'. If only someone in State Government would pay attention to the tremendous need to end the euthanasia problems, billions of tax dollars could be saved every year. If only someone in Government would pay attention, an estimated ten million pets every year would not need to be killed. Should California or any other State pass a veterinary tax bill, we can only hope the revenue provided will be put to a good use.

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton

About the author

Susan Thixton has an international pet people following providing dog and cat lovers a trusted source for pet food and pet food ingredient information. She's been called courageous, perseverant, even "the Caped Crusader for Pets" for her 16 year study of pet food. Susan Thixton is the author of hundreds of pet industry articles and the 2006 released book Truth About Pet Food (currently being updated for a second edition). She developed and publishes the pet product consumer magazine Petsumer Report and is a frequent speaker and radio guest all over the U.S. and Canada with more than 70 appearances in the last 2 years.
If you are looking for straight forward pet food information that can have an almost immediate impact on your pet's health - subscribe to the free newsletter, and subscribe to Petsumer Report to see reviews of close to 700 dog and cat foods and treats (adding 40+ each month). Susan Thixton's 'truth' will help you find a safer, healthier dog or cat food that could add years to your pet's life. http://www.TruthAboutPetFood.com

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