What should a vet do when a client can’t pay for their animal’s treatment? Or when asked their opinion on the killing of wildlife for disease control? Or when observing an animal welfare problem whilst off duty?
Ethical problems are an everyday part of life for veterinarians but it can be difficult to combine personal values with professional conduct. Veterinary Ethics presents a range of ethical scenarios that veterinarians and other allied animal health professionals may face in practice. The scenarios discussed are not only exceptional cases with potentially significant consequences, but often less dramatic everyday situations.
The responses to these ethical problems are from practising veterinarians and acknowledged world experts in animal welfare and ethics. The advice given is thorough and detailed, covering different eventualities, the ethical knots and dilemmas, the personal feelings of those involved as well as objective recommendations on ethical decision making and, where relevant, guidance from veterinary governing bodies and the law. The advice is framed in the form of veterinary life in the real world, not necessarily an ideal world.
As well as practical guidance the book takes a step back and explores the different philosophical arguments and standpoints and the resultant solutions and problems of each approach, examining the background and relationship between different philosophical schools of thought, ethics and veterinary care. The book strives to present decision making in response to ethical problems as transparently as possible, employing a range of ethical frameworks.
The book also challenges the reader about their own decision making in given situations, what factors to consider and how they would achieve certain outcomes.
Dr. Siobhan Mullan teaches ethical decision-making to veterinary undergraduates and in 2006 she started the Everyday Ethics column for practitioners in the journal In Practice. Her research interests at the University of Bristol are focused on welfare assessment and routes to welfare improvement for a range of farmed and companion animals. She is a founder member of the European College for veterinary specialists in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law.
Dr. Anne Fawcett works in private companion animal practice and lectures in veterinary ethics and professional practice at the University of Sydney and the University of Queensland. She also works as a journalist, writing for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Veterinarian magazine.