America’s Favorite Vet Contest Canceled Due To Cyber-Bulling

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america's favorite vet contest

American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) has, in the past, put on its “America’s Favorite Vet” contest and had folks vote online for their favorites. This year there were 20 finalists and 20 winners.

Huh?

Here’s the scoop.

The Contest

Taking a page out of So You Think You Can Dance’s award of America’s Favorite Dancer, the AVMF thought it would be fun to sponsor a contest that resulted in America’s Favorite Vet.

Here’s what the contest measures:

  • Involvement in their local communities
  • A love of all things veterinary
  • Strong connection to the pets they care for as well as the owners who love them
  • Ethics

Vets all across the U.S. are nominated by clients, co-workers and business partners and those nominating prepare an essay on why that particular vet should be recognized.

Once the ballots are in, 20 finalists are chosen and America votes.

The Tainted 2015 Contest

Everything was going along well until a cyber-bullying attack occurred over the ethics of declawing cats as a last ditch alternative.

What happened specifically? The cyber-bullies decided to viciously attack those finalists calling them vile names. Others found themselves on the receiving end of negative press, reviews and even some threatening phone calls.

In order to bring some, well, order to this travesty, the AVMF awarded all 20 finalists the title of America’s Favorite Vet which will include certificates of recognition.

We’re guessing these docs would refuse the honor in exchange for the clock being turned back to the day before they were named finalists.

 

What Now?

But we have to ask the question: What will happen to these bullies now that the contest has been halted? This isn’t just about the contest. No, it’s about control of someone’s livelihood and integrity through terrorist tactics and smear campaigns.

Should these bullies be prosecuted especially if this bullying caused a vet to lose clients? Reputation in business is everything these days and it’s just oh, so easy, to post negative comments on social media that can go viral faster than setting a lit match to dry tinder.

According to news reports, 9 out of 10 vets received threatening phone calls in addition to negative reviews and comments.

Threats over the phone. And we would bet that none of these bullies, none mind you, know these vets personally.

One Issue

And the problem with this entire smear campaign is that it has little to do with the stated contest measurements. Just because a vet will consider declawing as an option does not make them a bad or uncaring vet.

Here at WagBrag, we don’t feel that declawing is a great option. It’s painful and can lead to some permanent disability. But that doesn’t give us, as a society, license to bully someone publicly.

We hope that the vets’ reputations aren’t sullied because of the childishness of a couple of people and that they know how much they are valued by us pet parents.

To you 20 finalists for America’s Favorite Vet, we say bravo and thank you.

Reference links: http://www.avmf.org/index.php?src=directory&view=programs&srctype=detail&refno=3&category=main

https://www.avma.org/News/PressRoom/Pages/Americas-Favorite-Veterinarian-Contest-halted-due-to-cyber-bullying-finalists-to-be-honored-collectively.aspx

http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2015/08/anti-declaw_smear_campaign_mak.html

Image: iStock

 

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WagBrag’s co-founder, Russ Boles, has a deep history in animal rescue and welfare. For the past 12 years, Russ has served in various roles with Atlanta-based animal advocacy organizations focused on rescue, training and education. In addition, Russ led a local rescue volunteer team into New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina, assisting in efforts to rescue and care for stranded animals. This experience changed his life, and animal rescue and advocacy will always be a part of everything he does.

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