Identifying Veterinary Students' Capacity for Moral Behavior Concerning Animal Ethics Issues

Verrinder, Joy M. and Phillips, Clive J. C. (2014) Identifying Veterinary Students' Capacity for Moral Behavior Concerning Animal Ethics Issues. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, 41 4: 358-370. doi:10.3138/jvme.1113-153R

Author Verrinder, Joy M.
Phillips, Clive J. C.
Title Identifying Veterinary Students' Capacity for Moral Behavior Concerning Animal Ethics Issues
Journal name Journal of Veterinary Medical Education   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0748-321X
Publication date 2014-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3138/jvme.1113-153R
Open Access Status
Volume 41
Issue 4
Start page 358
End page 370
Total pages 13
Place of publication Toronto, ON Canada
Publisher University of Toronto Press
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Veterinarians face unique animal ethics challenges as practitioners and policy advisors to government and industry. Changing societal attitudes, cultural diversity, and the often conflicting needs and interests of patients and clients contribute to moral distress. Yet little has been done to identify veterinarians' capacity to address these animal ethics issues. In this study, first-year and final-year veterinary students in an Australian university were surveyed to explore moral sensitivity, moral motivation, and moral character and their relationship with moral reasoning. The majority of students were concerned about animal ethics issues and had experienced moral distress in relation to the treatment of animals. Most believed that veterinarians should address the wider social issues of animal protection and that veterinary medicine should require a commitment to animals' interests over owners'/caregivers' interests. There was less agreement that the veterinary profession was sufficiently involved in addressing animal ethics issues. The principal motivators for studying veterinary medicine were, in declining importance, enjoyment in working with animals, helping sick and injured animals, and improving the way animals are treated. However, most students had taken little or no action to address animal ethics issues. These results suggest that both first- and fifth-year veterinary students are sensitive to animal ethics issues and are motivated to prioritize the interests of animals but have little experience in taking action to address these issues. Further research is needed to determine ways to identify and assess these moral behavior components in veterinary education to develop veterinarians' capacity to address animal ethics issues.
Keyword Animal ethics
Veterinary Education
Ethical sensitivity
Moral reasoning
Moral motivation
Moral behavior
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Veterinary Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 6 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 5 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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