Date: 17. - 18. September 2015
Place: University of Veterinary Medicine
Veterinärplatz 1, 1210 Vienna
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Project duration: 2012-2015
Scientific coordination: MMag. Kerstin Weich
Founded by the austrian ministry of health
Further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Significant and obvious change is taking place in our Western societies with regard to human-animal interaction. On the one hand, animals are considered family members. On the other hand, they appear to be mere production units like in the context of farming. On the one hand, farm animals like pigs, cows and chicken are raised to become tasty food. On the other hand, biologically relatively similar animals are perceived as invaluable family members. The relationship between man and animals is changing and gathers a lot of media attention. These developments have consequences for professionals dealing with animals. Veterinarians are in the front line whenever and wherever practical decisions have to be made.Especially veterinary officers often find themselves in a field of tensions between economic limitations, animal protection, political interests, legal requirements and media attention. This is particularly true when it comes to unpopular measures, such as killing healthy animals, animal hoarding, culling and slaughtering. On the one hand, they are responsible for securing animal interests. On the other hand, they are as well in charge of public interests. In all these instances, one of the main challenges is to mediate between human and animal interests within a social context and within practical constraints. One of the main ideas of the project is to explore ethical dimension of practical day-to-day life of official veterinarians. Consequently, the link between professional experience and practical problems with ethical theory gains importance. Questions about the normative background of this profession and ways to use this background to solve practical problems arise. Since official veterinarians regularly have to deal with decisions that incorporate moral aspects, it is worthwhile to reflect on the ethical background of their professional life. The project aims for providing frameworks for veterinary officers in Austria in order to support their dealing with ethical conflicts in every-day-work within close cooperation between veterinary officers and ethicists.
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