Rebuttal to Licensure
American Farrier's Journal | 2008
I read, with great interest, Walt Taylor's article Why Farrier Licensing Makes Sense. Although I deeply respect Walt and thank him for all that he has accomplished for our industry, I'm afraid Licensing does not make sense.
Government intervention into our profession will remove farriers from the decision making process. Every state in the United States and the Federal Government work similarly. When a new agency is formed, current civil service employees have the option of making lateral transfers into the new agency. How may farriers currently hold civil service positions? How many non farriers work for the government?
The director, assistant director and other management level personnel will be professional administrators, not farriers and in all probability will have never even touched a horse or have any idea of the daily life of a farrier.
Farrier input? Probably not. If the government does decide to put together an advisory committee, as an olive branch, it will consist of an equal number of farriers, horse owners, veterinarians, and animal rights people. This advisory committee will not have decision making responsibilities nor will their advice be binding on the agency. The bottom line....... farriers will be at the mercy of non farriers.
If anyone thinks that the government can be brought into our profession on our terms is either naive or just plain ignorant of the process. Once the ball gets rolling toward government regulation, farriers will very quickly find themselves on the outside looking in as the new agency develops a life of its own, dedicated to perpetuating itself. and not to the improvement of the farrier industry. The average everyday farrier will just be a license number and a revenue source.
I am still amazed at the argument that without a government license farriers can never demand respect. It seems to me that if you have to demand respect from someone you perhaps didn't deserve it to begin with or that that person is incapable of respecting anyone, either way it should be irrelevant in how a person sees himself. The most important respect is self-respect and that cannot be given or taken away by the government.
The concept that government is the answer to any question or the solution to all problems is, I suppose, a sign of the times. It is, however, a very scary thought. How much respect can a government agency or a plastic laminated card really bestow upon an individual or a profession? Who would honor a card that demanded respect for farriers or any other profession, signed by the President of the United States, Bill Clinton? Respect is something that is earned on a one on one basis, not granted or demanded by some government agency. Respect is earned by a farrier's professionalism on a daily basis.
I have a long time client who has a lawn mowing business, with six employees. Several years ago the state government decided to license and regulate la
wn mowing businesses Now Jerry is considered a Landscape Contractor. He has to carry all the insurance required of a contractor, most of the insurance is for work he doesn't even do. He has to have a very expensive bond and the paperwork for his employees has more that quadrupled. He has to take ten hours a year of continuing education units. He does not take pride in his laminated card with his license number.
Walt mentioned that schools had the opportunity to resolve some of the issues he feels are important in our trade. Everyone knows that there are good farrier schools and bad farrier schools around the county. But even the bad schools are licensed by their respective state governments. A government license has not stopped the bad schools from using student instructors, poor to no forge work, little anatomy and being apathetic about their students success. A government license has done nothing except given legitimacy to these bad schools.
The AFA has refused to give even a lukewarm endorsement to schools that adhere to AFA educational standards. There is no incentive for schools to go to the trouble and expense of measuring up when the AFA endorses all schools the same.
The price you pay for freedom and liberty is that some people won't or can't measure up. Because some people can't or won't measure up is a weak excuse to restrict the freedom of the rest of the profession. To unleash the heavy hand of government with their unyielding, irrational regulatory requirements, excessive fees and assessments, just so some can avoid a Rodney Dangerfield Complex seems to me, extreme.
Farriers should rejoice in being one of the last bastions of free enterprise left in America. They should be proud of their independence and their ability to control their own destiny. Yes, there are some weak points but farriers have come a long way in the 28 years the AFA has been around; without the government.