June 17, 2009 — The Public Auction Task Force of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) has developed recommendations regarding the use of radiographic reports as part of the pre-purchase exams that are conducted on horses for sale at public auctions. The goal of the task force is to promote ethical practices during the sales process, particularly at Thoroughbred auctions.
“We view our recommendations as a ‘best practices’ approach that is applicable to veterinarians as well as buyers and sellers,” said Harry W. Werner, VMD, AAEP president. “It is our hope that everyone involved in the buying and selling of horses will embrace the highest standards of professional behavior.”
Following are key principles from the task force:
- Interpretation of radiographs should be performed by a veterinarian retained to represent the buyer. The integrity of the sales process could be jeopardized if a buyer relies solely on a radiographic report provided by the seller’s veterinarian.
- Modification or alteration of radiographic reports by a veterinarian or anyone involved with the sales process is considered unethical and fraudulent.
- Veterinarians with ownership in horses being presented for sale at public auction should avoid being involved in the representation of those horses to potential buyers, including performing radiographic or endoscopic exams.
The AAEP’s complete recommendations can be found at www.aaep.org/purchase_exams.htm.
“A sophisticated buyer will hire a veterinarian to independently evaluate radiographs on his or her behalf and give advice based on that buyer’s unique needs and risk tolerance,” explained Stuart Brown, DVM, chair of the Public Auction Task Force. “Using radiographic reports generated by the seller’s own veterinarian does not ensure complete transparency and increases the potential for ‘buyer’s remorse’ after the sale takes place.”
In addition to Dr. Brown, members of the Public Auction Task Force are Jeff Berk, VMD; Jim Morehead, DVM; Eric Peterson, DVM; Scott Pierce, DVM; Craig Van Balen, DVM; Bob Bloomer, DVM; and Scott Hay, DVM.
Regarding the sale of horses at public auction, the AAEP continues to evaluate other important areas, such as the use of medication in sales horses, integrity issues, and radiographic and endoscopic exam quality control. The AAEP plans to host a meeting with other industry stakeholders this summer to further discuss best practices in the public auction arena.
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