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Ethical questions abroad
  1. Charlie Matthias
  1. University of Bristol, Bristol BS2 8HE; e-mail:

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I RECENTLY returned from a three-week extramural studies placement in Sri Lanka, where I was involved in a sterilisation and rabies vaccination programme, as well as working at a local veterinary practice. The vets and vet assistants displayed considerable dedication and compassion, often working under difficult conditions with limited medical supplies and equipment. The vets involved in the sterilisation programme not only help to control stray dog and cat population size, which is crucial in a country with such a large stray problem; they also contribute to a reduction in the incidence of rabies in both people and animals. In addition, they provide essential veterinary care to the stray dogs and cats of the island, which would otherwise be left to suffer treatable medical conditions without any form of help.

Having said that, there were a number of ethical issues that I encountered during my trip that, from a UK perspective, gave me cause for concern. The first involves a reluctance to use humane euthanasia in animals caught for routine sterilisation that …

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