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How Has Animal Care Changed Over the Years?

Animal care is a profession that is often associated with compassion and kindness, but there are many factors which have been responsible for its evolution. The British Veterinary Association recently published an Animal Welfare Strategy, demonstrating their commitment to welfare-driven animal care. In this blog post, we talk through some of the factors which have helped to evolve animal care and attitudes towards the welfare of animals.

Increased awareness of animal welfare The welfare of animals has become an important topic in recent years, with more people becoming aware of animals as sentient beings who feel pain and emotion. Just last year, a controversial government vote on the topic of animal sentience caused a backlash in the media. This emotional response demonstrates how important animal welfare has become to the British public. An increased awareness of animal welfare in the public sphere means that those working in animal care can tackle mistreatment and animal suffering more directly.

Legislation An important turning point in animal care came with the 2006 Animal Welfare Act. This states that owners must provide their animals with a suitable environment and diet, give them the ability to exhibit normal behaviour patterns, house them with or away from other animals depending on their needs, and, importantly, protect them from injury and suffering. With the introduction of these clear legal guidelines, those working in animal care are now more able to advocate proper animal welfare to pet owners in a clear and straightforward way. If you want to know more about animal welfare legislation, check out our blog post on the legalities of animal care.

Ethics Ethical decision making has become central to the veterinary profession in recent years. This approach argues that vets must consider the welfare of animals before other factors, such as money or the reactions of clients. It is important that those in animal care professions receive the training and support necessary to be able to make ethical judgements in difficult situations.

Education While it has always been important for vets to have been properly educated, we are constantly learning new information about animals in the field of veterinary science. It remains important for there to be ongoing research into the biology, psychology and neurology of animals to help further our understanding of how they feel emotion and pain. What’s more, ensuring that new research on the welfare of animals is included in Veterinary Science university courses is vital!