Animal welfare training at the Ontario Veterinary College.J Vet Med Educ. 2005 Winter; 32(4):447-50.JV
The University of Guelph is internationally recognized as a leader in animal welfare and is home to the Colonel K.L. Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare and to numerous faculty with expertise in the discipline. However, while animal welfare receives significant attention within the agricultural college, its didactic teaching within the veterinary curriculum has been limited. Veterinary students receive four hours of instruction in animal ethics and apply their knowledge within the communication lectures and laboratories, totaling 11-15 hrs. Compulsory coursework explicitly addressing factual components of animal welfare science, welfare assessment, and associated animal-related policy constitute only 12 hrs throughout the four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine curriculum. However, an elective final-year clinical rotation and a graduate course specific to animal welfare were offered for the first time in 2004/2005. Student interest in animal welfare is evident through their participation in summer research projects in animal welfare, an animal welfare mentor group, and a student-run animal welfare club that organizes an Animal Welfare Forum each October. Veterinarians have important contributions to make in decision making about animal welfare issues, at clinician and policy levels. Although motivated individuals can seek out opportunities to expand their knowledge of animal welfare, a compulsory senior-level course in animal welfare is needed to develop the necessary depth of understanding of this discipline if veterinarians, as a profession, are to meet society's expectations about animal welfare.