Assessment of an educational intervention on the knowledge of Indian vets to animal welfare and euthanasia

EL Rayner, I Otter, H Bacon, L Gamble, H Walters, FM Langford

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


India has complex associations with animals, influenced largely by culture, religion and traditions. Vets often graduate with a limited appreciation for animal welfare, ethics and the knowledge and skills to undertake humane euthanasia. There are no published data on the degree of knowledge of Indian vets of animal welfare and euthanasia, or whether an educational intervention can influence this. Therefore, current knowledge of these topics, and the effect of exposure to an educational intervention, was assessed in 84 Indian national and 49 international vets attending a two-week-long surgical training course run by the Worldwide Veterinary Service in Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India. This formed part of a larger study which assessed attitudes to animal welfare and euthanasia. At the start of the course, a pre-intervention questionnaire, comprising demographics and knowledge-based questions on animal welfare and ethics, was completed by all participants. All (except for an additional course-cohort of 15 Indian participants acting as controls), were then exposed to a pre-designed lecture and case-studies that occurred during the usual teaching of the course (d6). At the end of the course (d12), a second questionnaire was completed containing identical questions. Prior to the intervention, there was no difference in knowledge of the control or intervention group of Indian participants. Indian participants had lower knowledge scores prior to the intervention compared to international participants (p<0.05). Knowledge increased in both Indian and international participants after the course, with the Indian participants showing the greatest change (p<0.05). The biggest improvement was observed in the knowledge of the Five Freedoms. For multiple choice questions that defined animal welfare, where incorrect answers included reference to animals having “rights”, Indian participants chose these answers more frequently prior to the intervention than international vets; the frequency of correct choices increased significantly after the intervention (p<0.05) . The control cohort did increase their knowledge slightly over the course period but not as significantly as either of the intervention groups. Both groups’ self-assessment of their understanding of animal welfare and euthanasia improved after the intervention. This study suggests that there are opportunities to improve current knowledge of Indian vets to animal welfare and euthanasia, and that post-graduation learning is useful for all veterinary graduates to help reinforce prior learning. Specifically, a targeted, culturally-relevant, educational intervention impacts on Indian vets’ knowledge towards animal welfare and euthanasia, and is of interest to educational and other organisations aiming to improve standards of animal welfare in India.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPrint publication - 2018
EventUFAW International Animal Welfare Science Symposium 2018: Recent advances in animal welfare science VI - Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Jun 2018 → …


ConferenceUFAW International Animal Welfare Science Symposium 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityNewcastle upon Tyne
Period28/06/18 → …
Internet address


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