A new expert on animal welfare, law and ethics

DVM, PhD Kirsi Swan is a new diplomate for the European Veterinary Specialist Education in Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law. Diplomates are familiar with animal welfare science and research, the principles of animal ethics, and European Union animal legislation and enforcement.

-During my studies, I learned about animal welfare science and research, the principles of animal ethics, and the legislation and application of animal law in the European Union. The expertise gained from this qualification is needed not only in the development and interpretation of animal welfare legislation, but also in the day-to-day practical work of a veterinarian," says ELT Kirsi Swan, Dip ECAWBM(AWSEL).

-I studied for my degree mainly as a work placement alongside my PhD research and my work as a animal welfare inspecting veterinarian. I kept a log book like a patient diary, and scientifically analysed cases through animal welfare, relevant legislation and animal ethics perspectives. I discussed cases with my supervisors and other residents in the field, both nationally and internationally. I also had to publish two peer-reviewed scientific articles in international scientific journals, participate in international congresses and play an active role in the field. For example, I am a member of the Animal Welfare Committee of the Federation of Veterinary Surgeons and Committee for the welfare of animals kept for scientific purposes," says Swan about her studies.

-Completing the degree was equivalent to three years of full-time work. Once the coursework was approved, I was finally entitled to sit a two-day exam. The exam was held this year in Pisa, Italy, and included both written and oral questions," says Swan.

There are now three veterinarians in Finland with specialist qualifications in the field, all of whom are researchers at the Animal Welfare Research Centre of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Helsinki. In addition to Kirsi Swan, DVM, PhD, the veterinary experts are Laura Hänninen, docent, and Ann-Helena Hokkanen, DVM, PhD. Professor Anna Valros is an internationally renowned associate professor in the programme,