Attitudes toward Animals and their Welfare among Italian Veterinary Students
Pirrone, F.; Mariti, C.; Gazzano, A.; Albertini, M.; Sighieri, C.; Diverio, S.
Veterinary Sciences 6(1)
ISSN/ISBN: 2306-7381 PMID: 30791640 DOI: 10.3390/vetsci6010019
As members of the public and the veterinary profession are increasingly concerned about animal welfare, there has been an increased scholarly interest in the attitudes of veterinarians and students toward animals, as these may impact human behavior, which ultimately impacts animal welfare. Here we investigated Italian veterinary students' demographic data and perceptions about nonhuman animal welfare issues that might be predictive of their attitudes. A survey eliciting information about demographics, knowledge, experience, and perceptions regarding different categories of animals, and including the Animal Attitude Scale (AAS), was administered to undergraduate veterinary medicine students in three Italian universities. Data were analyzed using nonparametric tests, and a value of p < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. In total, 876 students completed the questionnaire, with females (75.1%) making up a majority of students in all years of the course. Although veterinary students showed pro-animal welfare attitudes (mean score = 64.20 ± 0.24 out of 100), the findings suggested that year of study, gender, and geographical location had a significant impact (p < 0.05). In this study, we found a set of factors that, either individually or combined, help predict a student's attitude toward animal welfare issues, which will be useful in improving the curriculum strategy in veterinary education in Italy.