Veterinarians who transport certain controlled substances to their clients to treat or euthanize animals on agricultural operations have technically been breaking the law. A new bipartisan bill seeks to amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) making it legal to transport these drugs to the sites where they are needed.

Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Angus King of Maine introduced the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, S. 950, in the Senate.

This legislation will allow veterinarians to legally carry and dispense controlled substances away from the premises or veterinary practice on file with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

The 1970 CSA stipulates that controlled substances must be stored and dispensed at that specific address, which is especially hard on food-animal and rural practitioners because it makes it illegal for them to administer needed medications or euthanasia drugs on a client’s operation.

The Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act also has support in the U.S. House of Representatives from Reps. Ted Yoho of Florida and Kurt Schrader of Oregon – both veterinarians – who introduced companion legislation, H.R. 1528, in April.


To adequately practice medicine, veterinarians are often required to provide mobile or ambulatory services in the field, says American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) president Dr. Nigel Cook.

“This is particularly important for the cattle veterinarians in rural areas because it is often not feasible, practical or possible for farmers to transport their animals to a brick-and-mortar clinic or hospital,” Cook adds.

“In addition, we are often called to euthanize animals in distress in the field, an act of compassion that often requires the use of controlled substances. The AABP recognizes the importance of this Act and fully supports its implementation.”

AABP member Dr. Fred Gingrich, a dairy practitioner in Ashland, Ohio, adds that failure to pass this legislation that would amend the controlled substance act would mean that cattle veterinarians may have to face the difficult decision of choosing between breaking the law or providing pain relief or euthanasia of an animal.

“As veterinarians who care for cows, we have a taken an oath to relieve animal suffering. This legislation allows us to uphold our oath to the animals we care for every day on farms,” Gingrich says.

In a statement on Sen. Moran’s website, Moran said, “The Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act allows licensed practitioners to legally transport and dispense the controlled substances necessary to practice veterinary medicine.

"This legislation is particularly important for veterinarians who work in rural areas, conduct research or respond to emergency situations.”

The American Veterinary Medical Association stated in a press release that more than 110 veterinary medical organizations and associations support this legislation. PD

—From American Association of Bovine Practitioners news release