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
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These authors contributed equally to this work.
Received: 12 November 2018 / Revised: 19 November 2018 / Accepted: 20 November 2018 / Published: 23 November 2018
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.