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Research comment
Let's talk about veterinary ethics: developing tools, finding spaces and recognising institutional responsibilities
  1. Kate Millar, BSc, PhD
  1. Centre for Applied Bioethics, School of Biosciences and School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington, Leicestershire LE12 5RD, UK
  1. E-mail: kate.millar{at}

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In both the UK1 and internationally, day one competencies for veterinary surgeons are deemed to encompass an awareness of the ethical dimensions of practice and the ability to identify and articulate the nature of ethical responsibilities, such as informed consent.2 Veterinary ethics teaching is now embedded in undergraduate training, with some research being conducted to support the examination of why, when and how this teaching is delivered,3 yet more work is needed to evaluate the impact of this teaching on veterinary practice after graduation. Beyond early career training, there is also an increasing need to support the development of a broader set of ethical reflection skills within the veterinary profession that goes beyond just raising awareness and knowledge acquisition.

The recent study by Grimm and others,4 summarised on p 664 of this week’s issue of Vet Record, is an example of the professional veterinary community coming together to develop approaches to support ethical reflection among clinical colleagues, as they examine what is acceptable practice when conducting highly invasive clinical veterinary procedures. This paper is also welcome and timely given the recent discussion about how professional bodies, such as the BVA and RCVS, and those who work in the fields of animal, veterinary and professional ethics can more effectively support ethical reflection and decision making.5

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  • When approaching ethical dilemmas, clinicians should consider how they are …

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