Animal Welfare Veterinary Ethics and Law and Communication Skills


Animal Welfare Ethics and Law and Communication skills

Responsibilities of veterinary professionals in small-scale farms, extensive production systems and industrialized agriculture: animal welfare, veterinary ethics and law and communication skills in veterinary practice

Who is it for?

The aim of this summer school is to contribute to the teaching on animal welfare, veterinary ethics and law with a focus on small-scale farms and traditional (extensive) production systems that are of particular importance in the Balkan states and Eastern Europe. As an interdisciplinary scheme, the summer shool aims to contribute to the VetNEST members’ curricula as an elective course and allow veterinary students to gain knowledge on the topic within a total of 75 working hours investment (3 ECTS credits; 1 ECTS credit = 25 working hours).


  1. The program of this summer’s school aims at clarifying veterinarians’ roles and responsibilities in the context of small-scale farming and industrialized agriculture by focusing on the professionals’ identity and professional ethics. In particular, the summer school will address value conflicts within the field of professional responsibilities emerging from divers roles e.g. the “vet as a service provider” and the “vet speaking up for animal welfare” in agricultural contexts. By contrasting veterinarians’ responsibilities in the context of small scale farms and industrialized farms, these roles and related value conflicts will be exemplified and framed under the umbrella “professional veterinary ethics.” Therefore, emphasis will be laid on the profession’s core concepts: health and disease. Further, the topic will be addressed how to turn the gained insights into efficient communication strategies.
  2. The second aim of the program is providing answers on welfare assessment for small-scale farming systems and traditional (extensive) production systems. A growing number of consumers want to buy food, produced locally or regionally directly or under farm certification schemes, whereby acceptable animal welfare conditions oftenplay an important role. Sustainability, animal welfare, environmental and climate concerns, as well as awareness of social responsibility towards the community have increased consumers’ interest in knowing how, where andby whom food is produced and handled on its way from the farm to the table. The number of small-scale farming systems and extensive production systems in East Europe, especially in the Balkan region is bigger than in highly industrialized countries’ farms. Students will be provided with information for practical adaptation of welfare assessment protocols for application on small-scale farming systems and relevant European legal frameworks. Finally, a major input of this program will be the comparison of risk factors relevant for intensive farming systems and the adaptation of welfare assessment in small-scale farms.
  3. Many studies have shown the importance of communication skills in veterinary practice. For example, in a survey by McDermott et. al. (2005) 98% of 1774 sampled veterinarians agreed that communication skills are as important as – or more important than – clinical knowledge. Following the Calgary-Cambridge model of veterinary consultation (Adams & Kurtz, 2016) the client’s perspective of the problem and background information are placed to the foreground of consultation (i.e. an integrated clinical method of gathering information and explanation and planning). In this school students will have opportunity to work practically on different cases in order to be able to work on different costumer demands
Veterinaerplatz 1
xxx xxx Vienna
Sunday, July 21, 2019 to Saturday, July 27, 2019