Practical animal-handling classes at University College Dublin.J Vet Med Educ. 2007 Winter; 34(5):561-5.JV
The first two years of the veterinary program at University College Dublin (UCD) include two modules whereby students gain experience in basic animal handling. Practical Animal Husbandry uses both lectures and animal handling classes aimed at teaching students to approach, restrain, and carry out routine husbandry procedures on food-producing and companion animals humanely and competently and to be aware of the risks to human health of inappropriate animal approach and handling. Staff and students are given lists of animal-handling competencies designed to ensure that students attain relevant handling skills for beef and dairy cattle, pigs, horses, sheep, cats, dogs, and exotics (e.g., rabbits, guinea pigs). Students are allotted up to 12 weeks of Farm and Companion Animal Experience, an extramural (EMS) activity, according to their prior experience; the objectives are to become proficient in the handling and management of animals and to develop an understanding of the key husbandry factors in food-production systems (milk, beef, lamb, pork) at the farm level. Students are assessed in practical examinations at the end of the second year and cannot progress until they have achieved the required competence. In addition to the pedagogic strategies, special consideration is given to the welfare of the animals used in teaching practicals and to the health and safety of teaching staff and students.