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Animals 2018, 8(12), 220; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120220

Animal Ethical Views and Perception of Animal Pain in Veterinary Students

Research Centre for Animal Welfare, Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
These authors contributed equally to this work.
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Received: 12 November 2018 / Revised: 19 November 2018 / Accepted: 20 November 2018 / Published: 23 November 2018
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Simple Summary

Veterinary students face several ethical challenges during their curriculum. We surveyed the animal ethical views of Finnish veterinary students, and also asked them to score the level of pain perception in different animal species. We found that the appreciation of pain perception of different animal species, and especially of those taxonomically further away from humans, appeared to increase during Finnish veterinary education. This implies that knowledge is important in improving views towards capacities of animals of varying taxa. Finnish veterinary students have a clear domination of utilitarian views in animal ethics, and veterinary education appeared to influence their views only to a small degree. We suggest that understanding the ethical views of veterinary students enables better planning of educational activities, to ensure that the students gain a good understanding of the potential variety of, and differences in, ethical views they will encounter as future professionals.

Abstract

Veterinary students face several ethical challenges during their curriculum. We used the Animal Ethics Dilemma to study animal ethical views of Finnish veterinary students, and also asked them to score the level of pain perception in 13 different species. Based on the 218 respondents, the utilitarian view was the dominating ethical view. Mammals were given higher pain scores than other animals. The proportion of the respect for nature view correlated negatively, and that of the animal rights view positively, with most animal pain scores. Fifth year students had a higher percentage of contractarian views, as compared to 1st and 3rd year students, but this might have been confounded by their age. Several pain perception scores increased with increasing study years. We conclude that the utilitarian view was clearly dominating, and that ethical views differed only slightly between students at different stages of their studies. Higher pain perception scores in students at a later stage of their studies might reflect an increased knowledge of animal capacities. View Full-Text
Keywords: veterinary student; animal ethics; pain perception; animal; animal welfare veterinary student; animal ethics; pain perception; animal; animal welfare
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Valros, A.; Hänninen, L. Animal Ethical Views and Perception of Animal Pain in Veterinary Students. Animals 2018, 8, 220.

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