Animal Ethical Views and Perception of Animal Pain in Veterinary Students in Finland

The animal ethical views of Finnish veterinary students were surveyd, and they were asked to score the level of pain perception in different animal species. The appreciation of pain perception of different animal species, and especially of those taxonomically further away from humans, appeared to increase during Finnish veterinary education, but veterinary education appeared to influence students animal ethic views only to a small degree. Finnish veterinary students have a clear domination of utilitarian views in animal ethics.

Veterinary students face several ethical challenges during their curriculum.  The  Animal Ethics Dilemma was used to study animal ethical views of Finnish veterinary students, and stuidents were also asked  to score the level of pain perception in 13 different species. Based on the 218 respondents, the utilitarian view was the dominating ethical view. Mammals were given higher pain scores than other animals. The proportion of the respect for nature view correlated negatively, and that of the animal rights view positively, with most animal pain scores. Fifth year students had a higher percentage of contractarian views, as compared to first and third year students, but this might have been confounded by their age. Several pain perception scores increased with increasing study years.

The utilitarian view was clearly dominating, and that ethical views differed only slightly between students at different stages of their studies. Higher pain perception scores in students at a later stage of their studies might reflect an increased knowledge of animal capacities.

 

Animals cover

The study was  recently published in Animals
Valros, A.; Hänninen, L. Animal Ethical Views and Perception of Animal Pain in Veterinary Students. Animals 2018, 8, 220.

cover photo: Sini Merikallio
in the photo: Elina Lehinsalo and "Jänöliini"

 

MORE INFORMATION

Anna Valros, anna.valros@helsinki.fi
Laura Hänninen, laura.hanninen@helsinki.fi

 

Laura Hänninen

Laura Hänninen

clinical instructor, adjunct professor