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Title: Assessment of attitudes towards animal welfare within veterinary education
Author: Clarke, Nancy
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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The objectives of both human and veterinary medicine are to ensure optimal well-being of human and animal patients. However objectification processes have been identified as endemic within human medical contexts, whereby practitioners increasingly view and interact with patients as machine-like objects, lacking capacity for mental experiences. As objectification processes might also exist in veterinary medicine, potentially impacting upon quality of patient care, it is essential that tools exist to measure such processes and what additional factors may be influential. The main aim of the experimental research was to develop tools that could be predominantly used within veterinary education to assess students ' belief in animal sentience, and thus determine whether factors such as knowledge of animal welfare, gender, stage of veterinary education and empathizing and systemizing personality traits account for individual variation in such attitudes. In chapter 2 an animal welfare knowledge progress test was developed to assess veterinary students' knowledge of core areas of animal welfare, science, ethics and law. In Chapter 3 a questionnaire was used to measure belief in animal sentience, and gender as a source of variation, among first year veterinary students and over the course of the veterinary degree. In Chapter 4 a questionnaire was used to measure the possible role of empathizing and systemizing personality traits in determining both inter- and intra-gender variability in belief in animal sentience. In Chapter 5 a novel computer-based task was developed to investigate people's implicit tendencies to categorise animals as either object-like or person-like. Overall, the questionnaire-based tools were developed and used with adequate success. There was no evidence of objectification within veterinary medicine. However further research is needed using the tools, refilled where appropriate, in order to determine whether objectifications processes occur amongst wider populations of veterinary students and, if so, whether such processes impact upon animal welfare.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available