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Experts discuss ethics in equine practice
There are many ethical issues that equine vets have to deal with on a daily basis.
Lecture explores common issues facing modern equine practice

BEVA president Jonathan Pycock, World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers, and Safia Barakzai of Equine Surgical Referrals joined a panel discussion at the SPVS/VMG conference to discuss ethics in equine welfare.

The first topic under discussion was the backdating of vaccine dates. Jonathan said that there are sometimes extenuating circumstances and each case should be looked at separately in case there were exceptional circumstances.

Roly added that 'a vet can do far more damage with a pen than with a scalpel' and went on to say that we should not be backdating. Safia pointed out that there is more pressure on vets in some practices to do this and that it is particularly difficult for assistants in these circumstances.

Next, the panel considered whether it was ethical to euthanise a young horse if there was no good health reason or the owner was unable to pay for treatment. The panel agreed that the question of affordability was a difficult one.

Rory pointed out that our primary responsibility is to give any animal a good life and a good death, and that sometimes euthanasia is a kindness if an owner cannot care for it or may pass it on to another owner where it may suffer further. It was also pointed out that if a client cannot afford treatment, then even if you carried the procedure out for free or a reduced fee, the owner would probably still not be able to pay for the aftercare.

Another common issue that arises is being asked not to record certain health issues because this may impact on future insurance claims. The panel was in agreement that if a client tells a vet about a health issue with their animal it should be recorded on their record by the vet. If a client asks the vet not to include a health issue in their animal's records the vet should not agree.

Telephone conversations were also discussed, and again the panel agreed that a telephone discussion would be considered as a clinical discussion and therefore should be part of the clinical notes.

It is clear that there are many ethical issues that equine vets have to deal with in the course of their daily work. Having debates such as this at Conference can only serve to help the vet in equine practice make the correct decisions for the circumstances they find themselves in.

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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”