Australian and New Zealand Veterinary Students' Opinions on Animal Welfare and Ethical Issues Concerning Animal Use within Sport, Recreation, and Display
Fawcett, A.; Hazel, S.; Collins, T.; Degeling, C.; Fisher, A.; Freire, R.; Hood, J.; Johnson, J.; Lloyd, J.; Phillips, C.; Stafford, K.; Tzioumis, V.; McGreevy, P.
Journal of Veterinary Medical Education 46(2): 264-272
ISSN/ISBN: 0748-321X PMID: 30418810 DOI: 10.3138/jvme.0717-086r
Animals used for sport, recreation and display are highly visible and can divide community attitudes. The study of animal welfare and ethics (AWE) as part of veterinary education is important because it is the responsibility of veterinarians to use their scientific knowledge and skills to promote animal welfare in the context of community expectations. To explore the attitudes of veterinary students in Australia and New Zealand to AWE, a survey of the current cohort was undertaken. The survey aimed to reveal how veterinary students in Australia and New Zealand rate the importance of five selected AWE topics for Day One Competences in animals used in sport, recreation and display and to establish how veterinary students' priorities were associated with gender and stage of study. The response rate (n = 851) across the seven schools was just over 25%. Results indicated little variation on ratings for topics. The topics were ranked in the following order (most to least important): Pushing of animals to their physiologic/behavioral limits; ownership/responsibility; euthanasia; educating the public; and behavior, selection, and training for sport and recreation displays. In contrast to related studies, ratings were not associated with stage of study and there were few differences associated with gender. More females rated the pushing of animals to physiologic/behavioral limits as extremely important than did males ( p < .001). The role of veterinarians in advocating for and educating the public about the welfare of animals used in sport, recreation and display merits further discussion.