The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies Bicentenary

School Hosts 2nd Annual Student Welfare Conference

Students and leading ethics experts are back for the second year to co-host an event highlighting difficult moral challenges facing vets.

The event has sold-out, suggesting students and veterinary practitioners find discussion of these difficult ethical issues integral to their role as vet surgeons and animal welfare advocates. 

Ethical issues around emergency and critical care medicine, puppy farming, and unique welfare concerns associated with zoological medicine will be discussed by prominent expert speakers, including Heather Bacon from the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education.


Video created for the first Ethics Conference in 2017


The event follows research showing that stress caused by moral dilemmas is the top reason for vets’ compassion fatigue, which is common in caring professions and can lead to feelings of hopelessness and anxiety.

The event – set to host 150 participants – has drawn notable speakers including Head of Education & Policy at the Scottish SPCA, Gilly Mendes Ferreira, and animal behaviour experts from Dogs Trust and Cats Protection, Helen Vaterlaws-Whiteside and Nicky Trevorrow.

One of the big themes covered this year will be recognizing and managing pain across all animal species. Added to the agenda will be a debate panel on Evidence Based Veterinary Medicine and Alternative Therapies, attracting participation from vet Danny Chambers from the RCVS Council and TV vet Emma Milne.

It’s become clear that veterinary students are very anxious about tackling these types of ethical dilemmas in practice. We will continue to run the conference annually to encourage dialogue and education on these incredibly important welfare issues.

Morgan BrownFinal Year Student and Event Organiser


The 2018 Veterinary Ethics and Welfare Conference will be held at the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus from September 29th – 30th, 2018.


Conference Website