Johnson CL, Golab GC, Shepherd AJ, SAVMAAmerican Veterinary Medical Association
Animal welfare has developed rapidly as a scientific discipline since the 1980s. Some feel that veterinary students should receive a specific course on animal welfare as well as mentioning the subject in other courses. Members of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) Animal Welfare/Human-Animal Bond Committee wished to evaluate veterinary students' perceptions of their animal welfare education within their schools. Goals of the study included: 1) indentifying whether students felt prepared to engage in discussion of animal welfare issues upon graduation, and 2) determining whether students wished to receive more animal welfare information in their educational curriculum. A list of questions pertaining to animal welfare and animal welfare education and curricula within veterinary colleges was developed and shared with market researchers and the Animal Welfare Division staff at the AVMA for review. SAVMA delegates distributed the survey to their constituents. 2539 students representing 32 schools/affiliates responded to the study. Students were able to place various individuals and organizations on a continuum depending on their view on the use of animals. Students who participated in the survey felt that they would be prepared to discuss animal welfare issues upon graduation. However, results indicate that their expectations do not correlate with current educational standards with regards to animal welfare. 38.1% of students who participated in this survey felt that animal welfare was underemphasized in their educational curriculum.