Human-directed empathy and attitudes toward animal use: a survey of Spanish veterinary students

David J. Menor-Campos, Sarah Knight, Carolina Sánchez-Muñoz, Rocío López-Rodríguez

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Abstract

Veterinary practitioners are thought of as guardians of animal health and wellbeing, and are considered important in the development of policies on animals. Measuring veterinary students’ attitudes toward animals and animal use is needed when assessing the effectiveness of education programs focused on animal welfare and ethics. The present study examined Spanish veterinary students’ attitudes toward different types of animal use, their human-directed empathy, and the relationship between these and various personal variables. The sample comprised 200 students who completed an online questionnaire. Attitudes toward animal use varied significantly, depending on the type of use in question. There was also a relationship between attitudes toward animal use, one component of human-directed empathy, “Empathic Concern,” and a number of personal variables such as gender, career choice, and contact with animal welfare organizations. Concern about the use of animals for research and animal management was lower in students who were in the later years of their studies. Reasons for this and the role of veterinary education are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-487
JournalAnthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals
Volume32
Issue number4
Early online date28 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2019

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