Undoubtedly, the major social issues confronting veterinary medicine today revolve around animal welfare--farm animal welfare; the legal status of animals, including the concept of guardianship; and the efficacy of alternative medicine modalities.
Societal concerns about animal welfare have led to changes in the philosophy and practice of laboratory-animal medicine that are advantageous to research animals as well as to laboratory-animal veterinarians.
One yellow tabby named Darwin will not soon be forgotten by anyone who knows his story. In April 2004, this 9-lb cat was presented DOA to Brooklyn, N.Y., emergency veterinarian Brett Levitzke. Dr. Levitzke knew immediately that Darwin had died as a result of trauma. "I took the woman who brought Darwin in aside and asked her what had happened," he says. "She said her daughter's fiancé had beaten the cat. I told her that I take this very seriously and that I would get law enforcement involved. She said, 'OK, I want this guy prosecuted.'"
The symposium Veterinary Ethics: Controversies, Challenges, and Opportunities, convened at the 2006 American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in February, considered the diverse ethical concerns that arise from the competing and potentially conflicting interests that vie for the veterinarian's attention.
SACRAMENTO, CALIF.—The California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) endorses eight animal welfare guidelines designed to direct the group's position on controversial matters, such as cat declaws, tail docking and the production of foie gras.