The Ethical Matrix

Animal Welfare in Veterinary Education

Author: John Webster, Professor Emeritus, University of Bristol School of Clinical Veterinary Science, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU, UK


The subject of animal welfare should be an integral part of all education in agriculture and veterinary science.

The essence of these vocations: good husbandry and the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease are critical to ensuring that animals in our care are fit and happy. 

However the traditional structure of the agriculture and veterinary curricula that deals with production and health has, until recently, rarely given proper attention to conveying proper knowledge and understanding of the science and values that should underpin a professional career in animal care. 

Formal education in animal welfare, a discipline based on sound science and. sound ethics, is as essential to the veterinary curriculum as a programme in pathology or surgery.