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Article

Opinions towards Companion Animals and Their Welfare: A Survey of Croatian Veterinary Students

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Department of Hygiene, Technology and Food Safety, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb, Heinzelova 55, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
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Department of Animal Hygiene, Behaviour and Welfare, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb, Heinzelova 55, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
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Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zagreb, Svetošimunska cesta 25, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
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Department of Marketing in Agriculture, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zagreb, Svetošimunska cesta 25, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(2), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020199
Received: 19 December 2019 / Revised: 21 January 2020 / Accepted: 22 January 2020 / Published: 24 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
Although veterinarians are expected to have the main role in ensuring the welfare of all animals, it has been established that their perception of animal welfare may vary regarding animal species observed. To the best of our knowledge, there is no literature report on a comprehensive study focusing solely on veterinary attitudes and opinions towards companion animal welfare. The present study included students of veterinary medicine in Croatia and revealed them to have strongly positive opinions, with minor oscillations, towards companion animals and their welfare throughout the study years. Study results can contribute to the knowledge of veterinary perception of animal welfare and their opinions and attitudes towards welfare of different animal species, including companion animals and welfare challenges nowadays encountered in these species.
This survey was the first one investigating opinions of veterinary students in Croatia towards companion animals and their welfare, with special reference to dogs and cats as the most popular companion animals in the European Union. The study included students of all six years of the integrated undergraduate and graduate veterinary medicine study programme in Croatia. First-year students were surveyed twice, before and after having attended the course on animal welfare. Student opinions were assessed on the basis of their mean responses to five-point Likert scale questions and frequency of responses to Yes/No/I do not know questions and ratio scale questions. Study results revealed students to have strongly positive opinions towards companion animals and their welfare. The majority of student statements did not differ significantly between the first and sixth study years or before and after having attended the animal welfare course in the first study year, mostly yielding a straight, non-fluctuating line. Students were not sure whether welfare of companion dogs and cats was compromised. Study results pointed to reliable and reasonable opinions of veterinary medicine students in Croatia towards companion animals and their welfare, as well as to the welfare issues these species may be facing nowadays. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal welfare; survey; companion animals; cats; dogs; veterinary students animal welfare; survey; companion animals; cats; dogs; veterinary students
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mikuš, T.; Ostović, M.; Sabolek, I.; Matković, K.; Pavičić, Ž.; Mikuš, O.; Mesić, Ž. Opinions towards Companion Animals and Their Welfare: A Survey of Croatian Veterinary Students. Animals 2020, 10, 199. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020199

AMA Style

Mikuš T, Ostović M, Sabolek I, Matković K, Pavičić Ž, Mikuš O, Mesić Ž. Opinions towards Companion Animals and Their Welfare: A Survey of Croatian Veterinary Students. Animals. 2020; 10(2):199. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020199

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mikuš, Tomislav, Mario Ostović, Ivana Sabolek, Kristina Matković, Željko Pavičić, Ornella Mikuš, and Željka Mesić. 2020. "Opinions towards Companion Animals and Their Welfare: A Survey of Croatian Veterinary Students" Animals 10, no. 2: 199. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020199

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