New animal welfare syllabus for student vets worldwide

May 19, 2008

A vet at a static clinic examines a dog as the owner holds him, Brazil

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has re-launched its internationally respected Concepts in Animal Welfare education programme, aimed at veterinary students all over the world.

The original Concepts in Animal Welfare syllabus was the result of a long-standing collaboration with the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Medicine, one of the first academic institutions to pioneer animal welfare teaching and research. This version has already been adopted by over 250 universities in more than 30 countries since its launch in 2003.

Updated and improved

New developments in animal welfare, such as the importance of environmental enrichment for captive animals, the welfare of fish and the welfare implications of inadequate and inappropriate food provision have now been added to this important educational tool.

The revised version comprises 34 interactive modules on CD-ROM and encourages inclusion of specific topics within established veterinary syllabuses. It tackles a diverse range of subjects affecting farm and working animals, wildlife, companion animals and those used in experimentation.

John Webster, Emeritus Professor of Animal Husbandry at the Bristol Veterinary School, said:

“The syllabus is comprehensive because it gives regard to science as the route to the proper understanding of animals, ethics as the route to proper respect for animals, and professional training as the route to converting right thoughts into right action. A programme of study in animal welfare, involving formal teaching, practical experience and supervised self-education, is as essential to the veterinary curriculum as a programme in pathology or surgery.”

Jasmijn de Boo, WSPA Education Manager, added:

“Animal welfare science does not feature prominently in some veterinary curricula. This resource, however, will help students and lecturers to impart knowledge, understanding and responsible attitudes towards animals, by stimulating critical thinking about issues, not only during formal training but throughout their veterinary career.”

Welcomed by professionals

The first version of the syllabus has received endorsement from many professional bodies including the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), World Veterinary Association, Commonwealth Veterinary Association, World Small Animal Veterinary Association and the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Association.

The CD ROM has been sent to over 800 faculties and WSPA has organised workshops for over 450 veterinary institutes around the world since 2000.

For review copies of Concepts in Animal Welfare and/or for further information, please contact: Jasmijn de Boo, WSPA Education Manager: 

Read more about WSPA’s education work >>

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