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Animal Ethical Views and Perception of Animal Pain in Veterinary Students

By Anna Valros, Laura Hänninen

Category Journal Articles

Veterinary students face several ethical challenges during their curriculum. We used the Animal Ethics Dilemma to study animal ethical views of Finnish veterinary students, and also asked them 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 1st and 3rd year students, but this might have been confounded by their age. Several pain perception scores increased with increasing study years. We conclude that 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.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2018
Publication Title Animals
Volume 87
Issue 12
Pages 9
Publisher MDPI
DOI 10.3390/ani8120220
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal ethics
  2. Animal roles
  3. Animal welfare
  4. open access
  5. Pain
  6. Pets and companion animals
  7. Veterinary students
  1. open access