Federal Laws, Agencies & Ethics in Veterinary Medicine

Federal Laws, Agencies & Ethics in Veterinary Medicine
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  • 0:01 Federal Laws and Agencies
  • 0:40 Laws Pertaining to People
  • 2:43 Animal Welfare Act
  • 4:00 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson will go over some of the more important federal laws and agencies that pertain to the veterinary world, including the ADA, OSHA, FDA, DEA, and AWA.

Federal Laws and Agencies

Like it or not, the U.S. has a highly complex legal structure. Veterinary medicine is not just subject to state laws, but federal laws as well. Federal laws are laws passed by Congress and upheld by the U.S. federal court system.

Many of these laws apply to the people involved in veterinary medicine; that is to say, the veterinary staff members. Others apply specifically to animals. Some of these laws are governed by specific federal agencies as well.

This lesson outlines some of these laws and agencies and by the end of this lesson, you'll understand why they deal with ethical considerations related to both people and animals.

Laws Pertaining to People

Federal laws are typically broader in their scope, reach, and authority than state laws. Let's take a look at some of the federal laws that deal with the people in veterinary medicine.

The first is known as ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act. This is a law that was enacted by Congress in 1990. It prohibits against the discrimination of qualified people based on a disability. Furthermore, it's a law that governs the appropriate accommodations people with physical and mental disabilities should have in the workplace in order for them to work safely and efficiently.

Another law is known as the Fair Labor Standards Act, a law that establishes a minimum wage, overtime pay, and governs the age and duties children can perform in a workplace setting.

A federal agency applicable to the veterinary world is OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA is an agency that oversees and enforces the laws that pertain to workplace health and safety. OSHA focuses on leadership, fair and effective enforcement, outreach and education, partnerships with state governments as well as the private sector.

Two other important agencies are the FDA and DEA. The FDA is the Food and Drug Administration, and the DEA is the Drug Enforcement Administration. The FDA is responsible for a lot of things, including setting the manufacturing standards for medications used to treat animals. The DEA is responsible for issuing and monitoring veterinary DEA licenses. These licenses allow veterinarians to prescribe controlled substances, which are medications that have a high potential for abuse by people.

Controlled substances must always be locked up in an appropriate place and logged when they are prescribed to a patient. Such records must be updated daily. If the DEA finds a discrepancy between how much of a controlled substance was ordered, used, or logged, severe consequences can be placed upon veterinary staff members.

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