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WSPA launch international animal welfare syllabus

AN INTERNATIONAL syllabus to assist with the teaching of animal welfare in veterinary faculties has been launched by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) recently. The Concepts in Animal Welfare syllabus is the result of a long-standing collaboration with the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Medicine, one of the world’s first academic institutions to pioneer animal welfare teaching.

Developed over two years with input from veterinarians the world over, it is composed of 30 interactive modules on CD-rom and aimed at encouraging the specific welfare teaching within established veterinary syllabuses. Printed and audio-visual resources complement the CD-ROM and updates will be available via the internet –
The principles are supported by professional bodies such as the World Veterinary Association, Commonwealth Veterinary Association, World Small Animal Veterinary Association and the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations. The Concepts in Animal Welfare syllabus tackles a diverse range of subjects covering welfare issues affecting farm and working animals, wildlife, companion animals and those used in experimentation.

John Webster, Professor of Animal Husbandry, University of Bristol School of Veterinary Science said, ‘The syllabus is comprehensive because it gives regard to science as the route to the proper understanding of animals, ethics as the route to proper respect for animals, and professional training as the route to converting right thoughts into right action. A programme of study in animal welfare, involving formal teaching, practical experience and supervised self-education, is as essential to the veterinary curriculum as a programme in pathology or surgery.’

WSPA has been developing its animal welfare syllabus with veterinary institutes around the globe since 2000. John Callaghan, WSPAs Education and Training Director, commented, ‘Veterinarians play a major role in directly improving animal welfare through their own actions and by influencing others to do the same. Regrettably, animal welfare hasn’t traditionally received the priority and attention it deserves from the veterinary profession. This resource will play an important part in helping veterinarians of the future to develop a greater understanding of the welfare of animals by stimulating focussed critical thinking on welfare issues throughout their veterinary career.’