The hard-working Cato interns pointed me to this article discussing a constitutional challenge to restrictions on the online provision of veterinary services:
A retired Texas veterinarian has filed a federal lawsuit challenging state regulations that bar him from evaluating animals and giving veterinary advice over the Internet.
Since 2002, Ronald Hines, 69, of Brownsville, Tex., has used his website to provide veterinary advice—sometimes for free and sometimes for a flat $58 fee. Sometimes his clients are overseas with limited access to veterinary services. He gets lots of questions from people who find wounded birds and want to nurse them to health. Over the course of his career, he developed an expertise with monkeys, and said he still gets a lot of monkey questions.
Last month, the Texas veterinary board suspended Hines’ license for a year after finding that his Internet practice violates state laws. Texas regulations require a vet to establish a “veterinarian-client-patient relationship,” and they explicitly state that such a relationship cannot be established solely through the telephone or Internet.
Hines’ lawyers at the Arlington, Va.-based Institute for Justice say the rule infringes on their client’s free-speech rights and is an unreasonable restriction on the profession.
Jeff Rowes, an attorney with the institute, said the case could set a precedent in fields that extend well beyond veterinary medicine. He noted that telemedicine continues to be an emerging field and that regulations restricting Internet speech could affect a number of professions, including law, psychology and investment advice.