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Teaching animal ethics

Examining why ethics is taught to veterinary students: a qualitative study of veterinary educators' perspectives

By M. Magalães-Sant'Ana, J. Lassen, K. Millar, P. Sandøe & I.A. Olsson (2014) 
Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. 
University of Toronto Press.


Although it is widely agreed that veterinary students need to be introduced to ethics, there is limited empirical research investigating the reasons why veterinary ethics is being taught. This study presents the first extensive investigation into the reasons for teaching veterinary ethics and reports data collected in semi-structured interviews with educators involved in teaching undergraduate veterinary ethics at three European schools: the University of Copenhagen, the University of Nottingham, and the Technical University of Lisbon (curricular year 2010–2011). The content of the interview transcripts were analyzed using Toulmin's argumentative model. Ten objectives in teaching veterinary ethics were identified, which can be grouped into four overarching themes: ethical awareness, ethical knowledge, ethical skills, and individual and professional qualities. These objectives include recognizing values and ethical viewpoints, identifying norms and regulations, developing skills of communication and decision making, and contributing to a professional identity. Whereas many of the objectives complement each other, there is tension between the view that ethics teaching should promote knowledge of professional rules and the view that ethics teaching should emphasize critical reasoning skills. The wide range of objectives and the possible tensions between them highlight the challenges faced by educators as they attempt to prioritize among these goals of ethics teaching within a crowded veterinary curriculum.

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Animal ethics dilemma: An interactive learning tool for university and professional training

By A.J. Hanlon, A. Algers, T. Dich, T. Hansen, H. Loor & P. Sandøe (2007)
Animal Welfare. UFAW. 


'Animal Ethics Dilemma' is a freely available computer-supported learning tool which has been developed primarily for veterinary undergraduates but is applicable also to students in other fields of animal science. The objectives of the computer program are to promote students understanding of the ethics related to animal use, to illustrate ethical dilemmas that arise in animal use, to broaden students moral imagination, and to enable students to differentiate between types of ethical argument.

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