Dealing with dilemmas – animal welfare and ethics in everyday practice

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About the course

Evidence suggests that veterinary surgeons experience difficult ethical dilemmas regularly and that these situations are highly stressful. Typical veterinary ethical challenges involve decisions regarding treatment options, the welfare or quality of life of the animal, the interests of the client and the duty of care to both. Resolving these dilemmas requires consideration of medical, scientific, psychological, legal and economic facts as well as evaluating ethical justifications about what should be done – and not done. 

In this course, participants will gain underpinning knowledge of key ethical concepts a logical, step by step approach to ethical decision making will be presented. Many of these difficult cases require competency in welfare assessment and practical approaches to evaluation of patient welfare and quality of life will be included. These decisions need to be made in the context of animal welfare law, so the course will provide an introduction to relevant legislation and its application in practice. Group discussion of relevant case studies to will provide worked examples and practice in ethical reasoning. 

The five key things delegates will learn from this course are: 

  • An awareness of key ethical concepts that may underpin decision making
  • How to utilize a logical approach to decision making
  • How to discuss and consider the views of relevant stakeholders in ethical dilemmas 
  • How to apply practical approaches to welfare assessment
  • How to consider and apply relevant welfare legislation in veterinary decisions


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