Veterinary Students’ Attitudes To Animals
Discusses a study of 329 first year veterinary students, focusing on their career choices and attitudes toward animal welfare/rights, including various demographic factors.
This study (voluntary and anonymous) was conducted on the first day of class among first year students of a 14 hour required course on Veterinary Ethical Issues at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, from 2000-2002.
A significant male bias toward food-animal practice was identified from this survey, while females showed greater concern for possible instances of animal suffering than males.
The most frequently reported influences on the subjects’ personal and moral values were:
- Parents (88%)
- Interaction/experiences with animals (72%)
- Practicing veterinarians (45%)
- Other experiences (24%)
- Religion (18%)
- Peers (15%)
- Other family members (5%)
Students who had owned exclusively dogs/cats had a strong bias toward working in small animal practice and away from food-animal and equine practice, as compared with students who had owned other types of animals. It was also found that those who had rural backgrounds and farm experience were strongly and positively associated with food-animal and horse ownership and preferred employment in food-animal and equine practice.