Section 49
Chapter 48,336

Attitudes of veterinary students at one US college toward factors relating to farm animal welfare

Levine, E.D.; Mills, D.S.; Houpt, K.A.

Journal of veterinary medical education 32(4): 481-490


ISSN/ISBN: 0748-321X
PMID: 16421832
Accession: 048335493

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The American Veterinary Medical Association's policy states that veterinarians are obliged to promote good animal welfare. In order to establish how compatible the attitudes of future veterinarians in one North American Veterinary College were with the promotion of good animal welfare, students were surveyed with respect to their opinions about the humaneness of commonly employed agricultural procedures (e.g., hot branding) and their beliefs about the cognitive ability of various domesticated species. A Web-based questionnaire was made available to all veterinary students at Cornell University. Descriptive summary data were collected with regards to students' perceptions of the cognitive abilities of six different domesticated species. Students were also asked if they considered certain agricultural procedures to be humane for each of these species. The data were analyzed with respect to students' future career goals. Chi-squared tests and nonparametric statistical techniques were used to examine differences between species and desired career goals. Veterinary students were more likely to believe that dogs and cats had cognitive abilities than farm animals did. Students considered various procedures to be more humane for farm mammals than for dogs and cats. Students aspiring to work with food animals considered more procedures to be humane for all species than did students aspiring to work with small animals. The inconsistency of students' attitudes for different species has implications for veterinary education and animal welfare. Scientific fields integral to understanding animal welfare may need to be emphasized within the veterinary educational curriculum.

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