Veterinarian Amendment: A Pet Owner’s Rights

A legislative amendment we have been supporting for 7 years is finally about to be adopted. The Veterinarian Amendment allows pet owners to be informed of the medical estimates prior to diagnosis and treatment. 

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) announced the upcoming plan to adopt the amendment and launched a public opinion survey that will continue until May 18, 2020. 

Veterinarian Amendment Main Articles

  1. Veterinary staff must explain the surgical process, transfusion, or other high-risk medical procedures to the pet owner and receive written consent prior to going ahead with the procedure. 
  2. A veterinary hospital must display a pet owner’s rights regarding animal medical services in a clearly visible place. 
  3. A veterinary hospital must display and notify pet owners of the medical service price standards set by MAFRA.
  4. A veterinary hospital must provide a comparison of the average cost and price ranges of medical diagnoses and procedures by category in various hospitals.
  5. MAFRA must set clear standards for disease names, medical treatments, etc.

In 2017, following TV Chosun’s investigative journalism program “Greedy Animal Hospital” (Korean: 탐욕의 동물병원) that exposed what was happening in many of these businesses, we expressed our thoughts about legal support of victims and veterinary hospital laws.

After 3 years have passed, we can finally see this amendment being realized.

However, failure to comply with the Veterinarian Amendment regulations would merely result in a fine of not more than 1 million Korean Won (~810 USD.)

We object to this unimpactful level of penalty.

A pet owner is put in a vulnerable position by relying solely on the veterinarian’s advice and guidance. How veterinarians deliver their explanation can determine the outcome of a pet’s life. The penalty for pet owners who fail to register their pets is around 1 million Korean won, and we believe that a veterinary professional, who is liable for greater responsibility for an animal’s life, must suffer more severe consequences.

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