Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Care and Justice orientations to moral decision making in veterinary students
  1. C. Quinn, BVetMed, MRCVS1,
  2. T. Kinnison, BSc, MSc2 and
  3. S. A. May, MA, VetMB, PhD, DVR, DEO FRCVS, DipECVS FHEA3
  1. 1Manor Veterinary Clinic, Pent Road, Shearway Business Park, Folkestone, Kent CT19 4RH, UK
  2. 2The LIVE Centre, The Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL9 7TA, UK
  3. 3|Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA, UK;
  1. E-mail for correspondence: smay{at}


An adapted version of the Moral Justification Scale was used to assess moral decision-making orientation in veterinary students, comparing sex and year of study. The Scale consists of vignettes and related statements, each of which was classified as Justice, Care for People or Care for Animals. The importance of each statement in the decision-making process was rated by 204 students on a 10-point Likert Scale. An average score of importance for Justice, Care for People and Care for Animals related statements were calculated for each individual. General inclination scores were calculated by subtracting an individual's average Care score from their average Justice score. Inclination scores suggested that two-thirds of students have a balanced approach, using Justice and Care almost equally in approaching ethical dilemmas. The majority of students, however, show an overall Justice orientation. The attitude towards the importance of Justice did not vary between students of different years or sexes. Students' attitudes towards the importance of Care for People in their decision making were, however, significantly lower for final-year students. Reasons hypothesised include the start of placements. Care for Animals scores were affected by sex, whereby females give more importance to such statements than males.

View Full Text

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.