Letter: UVMA apologizes for 'camel in the tent' remark

Veterinary technicians were insulted by analogy made by group's delegate

April 13, 2022 (published)
From Jane Kelly and Paul Toniolli

On behalf of the Utah Veterinary Medical Association, and in response to a remark made by the UVMA delegate at the American Veterinary Medical Association leadership conference in January, using the allegory of a camel in a tent ("AVMA mulls license portability, membership for non-veterinarians," Jan. 11), we would like to offer sincere and heartfelt apologies to veterinary technicians and support staff for the hurt and consternation this statement has caused.

As every veterinarian knows, all of our support staff, including technicians, office managers, kennel assistants, customer service representatives and all others who play a role in the care team, are invaluable to our work as veterinarians. Quite simply, we could not do our jobs adequately without them. Our support staff are the friendly faces we see every morning; they protect us and keep us on track in our daily tasks. They offer comfort when we have had bad days, they are willing to stay late to help us, and they help us with everything from anesthesia for surgery, putting in catheters, and restraining fractious animals to cleaning up our messes. Our support staff are our valued colleagues and friends, and we support them in any way we can.

We and many other veterinarians in the UVMA have lost sleep thinking about the hurt and anger the statement about the camel in the tent has caused. No offense was intended, but we acknowledge the allegory wording was offensive/hurtful and will continue to be mindful of how our word choices affect others.

We also acknowledge that this official apology should have come some weeks ago, and we do apologize for the delay.

Thank you for all of your support and forgiveness.

Dr. Jane Kelly is president of the Utah Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Paul Toniolli is the AVMA delegate for Utah.

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