Few Veterinary Students Adhere To Veg*n Diets
It makes sense that humans who have regular, close contact with animals would tend to be more sympathetic towards their interests. To explore this potential link — or lack thereof — researchers in this study interviewed both Bulgarian and English-speaking veterinary students through a written questionnaire. They asked the students about their personal experiences with both farmed and companion animals. They also inquired about the students’ eating habits. Whether they consume animal products or eat a vegetarian or vegan diet. The researchers interviewed 131 Bulgarian students and 78 English-speaking students.
Among both groups, there was a high percentage of students who had taken care of companion animals: 94% of Bulgarian and 98% of English-speaking students. On the other hand, very few of the participants had engaged in raising or working with farmed animals. Approximately 7% of the Bulgarian students and 17% of English-speaking students lived on personal farms and had that type of experience.
In regards to diet, the vast majority of vet students consume animal products while only a small percentage adhere to veg*n diets. 90% of Bulgarian and 86% of English-speaking students eat animal products, whereas 8% of Bulgarians and 6% of the English-speaking students eat vegetarian diets. Only 2% of the Bulgarians and 5% of the English-speaking students indicated that they ate vegan diets. Approximately 2.5% of the English-speaking students did not answer this question.
Using this data, the researchers concluded that one of the reasons so few vet students eat veg*n diets is their lack of involvement with raising animals for food. In addition, the relationship between companion animal guardianship and veg*n diets were similar to previous studies. There did appear to be a small percentage (6% vegetarian and 6% vegan) of companion animal guardians who ate veg*n diets. Overall, it appears that individuals working in direct contact with animals overwhelmingly fail to recognize their sentience. This is troubling, as one would hope that those working with animals would be much more sympathetic to their suffering. Due to the small sample size and limited context of this study, more research is needed and warranted. However, it is fair to say that animal advocates need to do a better job of helping people see the connection between the animals they interact with every day and the ones on their dinner plate.