1 Section for Consumption, Bioethics and Governance, Department of Food and Resource Economics, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet2 Section for Animal Welfare and Disease Control, Department of Large Animal Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet3 Universidade do Porto4 University of Nottingham5 Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology (IBMC)6 Universidade do Porto7 Section for Consumption, Bioethics and Governance, Department of Food and Resource Economics, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet8 University of Nottingham
a qualitative study of veterinary educators' perspectives
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 between these goals of ethics teaching within a crowded veterinary curriculum.
Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, 2014, Vol 41, Issue 4, p. 350-357