Access to Veterinary Care is an Animal Welfare Issue

The lack of access to veterinary care is one of the largest animal welfare issues confronting owned pets, says Michael Blackwell, DVM, MPH, director of the Program for Pet Health Equity at the University of Tennessee College of Social Work.
Published: August 31, 2018

The lack of access to veterinary care is one of the largest animal welfare issues confronting owned pets, says Michael Blackwell, DVM, MPH, director of the Program for Pet Health Equity at the University of Tennessee College of Social Work.

“Access to veterinary care, or more specifically the lack of access, we see as the largest animal welfare issue confronting owned pets, dogs and cats primarily. And that's because of all of the things that define their lives, or more importantly their basic care needs. The one that we're failing to address the most is access to healthcare when it's needed. So, that's why we are so focused upon addressing this societal problem. I'd like to think of it in terms of lack of diversity, that is, when we talk about lack of access to veterinary care then the next logical question is well who's affected?

And it turns out this problem is driven largely by socioeconomic realties in America. That even many of the working "poor" are unable to acquire veterinary care. Because it's a socioeconomic issue, we have over representation among minority groups, especially latino and black Americans.”

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