Slaughterhouse work experience for Veterinary? Watch

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AliceEdenYAY
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so I really want to be a vet one day, I know how hard it is and everything, I was just looking for advice about work experience.

when I've emailed veterinary universities, they've replied saying I should get work experience in numerous places, which I'm fine with, but also on the list was a slaughterhouse.

so I did some research and found that if you don't get work experience in one before your degree, you'll have to anyway as part of the course?

I am a vegetarian and strongly disagree with killing animals, so I really do not think I would be able to go to watch and watch animals being killed that way. Of course I know that if I was a vet I may have to put animals down, but that would be a last resort and not for food purposes.

I am basically asking if this is a necessity either before or during a veterinary course or if there is anyway around it? I don't think I'd be able to cope in a slaughterhouse.

I understand that vets have to check that the animals going in are healthy enough to be killed for food, but this is not something I would plan to do in my own veterinary career.

I also understand that the work experience may only be a day or a few days, then I could go on to do whatever within the veterinary industry, but I still don't feel I could cope with that. It's strongly against what I believe.

Has anyone done a veterinary degree or been to a slaughterhouse? What was your experience like?

Any advice?
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Little Tail Chaser
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Before applying to veterinary medicine you do not have to have been to an abattoir. For work experience, the staples are usually considered to a small animal vet, large animal vet, stables, farming (in particular dairy), lambing and kennels/cattery. Anything other than this will help to set you apart from other candidates, and a placement at a slaughterhouse will prove that you have examined all aspects of a career in veterinary science. It is definitely not compulsory, however, and there are many other placements that you could go to (urban farm, dog groomer, pet shop, seal sanctuary, zoo, hydrotherapy centre etc etc) that will serve the same purpose.

I'm not a vet student so I'm afraid I don't know whether it forms a part of the actual course. I imagine that it varies between different establishments, but would be quite surprised if any courses included no slaughterhouse work whatsoever. I doubt that you'd be frog marched into an abattoir and forced to work there, but it would still be valuable experience in my opinion. Anyone feel free to correct me if I am wrong, though.

As a vet you will have to face many scenarios that go against your beliefs. What would you do if an animal had to be refused treatment simply because the owners could not afford it. What about the vets that have to destroy horses that are injured running dangerous races? It's a tough career with a lot of moral and ethical dilemmas. From what I have heard, a lot of people have been pleasantly surprised by their experience at slaughterhouses. I would attempt to pluck up the courage to go to one, even if it is only for a day, or even a few hours.
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AliceEdenYAY
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Thanks for the reply

And yes, I know that being a vet can include some hard decisions, but I feel the good outweighs the bad. If I was a vet I'd like to become specialised in a certain aspect e.g. surgery or neurology so I wouldn't have to deal with situations like slaughterhouses or race horses. Then again, I might try something like that and enjoy parts of it, I don't know until I try. I'm very sensitive when it comes to slaughterhouses and don't know how I'd cope. But then I guess you'd toughen up a bit with experience.
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Leigh303
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(Original post by AliceEdenYAY)
Thanks for the reply

And yes, I know that being a vet can include some hard decisions, but I feel the good outweighs the bad. If I was a vet I'd like to become specialised in a certain aspect e.g. surgery or neurology so I wouldn't have to deal with situations like slaughterhouses or race horses. Then again, I might try something like that and enjoy parts of it, I don't know until I try. I'm very sensitive when it comes to slaughterhouses and don't know how I'd cope. But then I guess you'd toughen up a bit with experience.
I think spending time in an abattoir is a compulsory part of the course, yes. At the abattoir I went to Bristol and RVC students were there on rotations. Personally I actually found it not that bad, and very interesting. But I don't think something you can get around. I would try and see it as something that has to be done, just a couple of days in a 5 year degree! But I understand it's still difficult for you.

Something else to consider is that on veterinary rotations in your clinical years you may well come across situations where large animals have to be killed; will you be able to cope with that?

I don't mean to sound negative, just trying to give you a realistic idea


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Mockery
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If you strongly disagree with killing animals I strongly advise against being a vet. Putting down sick or injured animals will be a daily occurrence.
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Tarnia
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Do you strongly disagree with the killing of animals, or do you strongly disagree with killing animals FOR FOOD? Or because you deem it unnecessary?

I think it is important to separate those in your mind. First of all, even if you were able to specialize (and not everyone that wants to can-you have to apply for and get accepted to a residency, it is expensive, competitive, etc. etc.) that is NOT a guarantee against having to kill an animal. As part of your oath, you agree to put animal welfare as your primary concern. This means if you are driving by on a highway, a slaughtertruck is in an accident and you see it, you are OBLIGATED (unlike medics) to stop and offer aid. This may mean euthanasia. Also, many neuro cases sadly end up being euthanasia, as do some surgery cases. Those specialties are NOT a guarantee against having to kill animals-in fact possibly quite the opposite!

So if you say in your vet interview "I want to be a vet but I won't kill animals/disagree strongly with killing animals"...depending on how you back it up of course, I don't think that will get you good points. IT IS A PART OF THE JOB-fullstop.

Now, against killing animals for food or because you deem it unnecessary maybe gives you some wiggle room. I have signed a contract at a clinic that requires a full clinical exam be given before euth'ing an animal, and if the vet doesn't agree it is warranted, it is not done. This is not my personal policy-it is the policy of the clinic. I think such policies can open other cans of worms (if you don't do it is the owner just going to beat the animal to death him/herself?) but there are ways of dealing with the 'can of worms' too.

Back to your original question: yes, a day at a slaughterhouse is (or was in my year-I could be out of date on new regulations) a mandatory part of the training the RCVS insists you do-ie a mandatory part of your clinical EMS. They insist on a week; at the **** Vet they have a meat inspector on staff so the RCVS counts doing a "intense training" day with him as equal to just showing up at a slaughterhouse for a week. So I did one day. Making sense so far?

They are well aware that there may be vegetarians, vegans, or people against killing on the course. One of my groupmates is very against guns, they frighten her and a gut reaction is to cry. We had the option of going up and stunning an animal ourself (note: this is STUNNING, rendering them unconscious NOT killing-that is done by TRAINED PERSONEL only!), she did end up going but was told she didn't have to if she found it too upsetting. I had already been to a slaughterhouse so knew what to expect through the day, however many of the vegetarians were the most vocal about it being a good thing for everyone to see-pro slaughter or anti-slaughter. Most of my time there was spent in observing how the carcass was dealt with, meat inspected and preserved, etc. etc.

Another way of looking at it is even if you are against killing of animals, until such a time as it is banned-and you can continue to work towards that goal if that is your goal/that is what you want to do-vets are needed to ensure it is done in as humane a way as possible. Arguably VEGETARIAN vets, who will not "be on the side of slaughter", are even better.

You certainly have a right to your beliefs and convictions. I think you deserve credit for sticking by them so strongly. On the other hand, rational debate results from being informed on an issue, and rational debate is arguably what should institute change-not personal emotional beliefs. Is someone (anyone) truly informed on an issue if they haven't explored slaughter themselves? Same as is a omnivore truly informed if they haven't made the effort to try vegetarian alternatives?

Regardless, it is required. So I guess you have to decide on whether your convictions are worth giving up a career as a vet. There are other animal-centered careers that don't require killing animals. For example as a vet nurse you wouldn't actually be the one doing the killing-though I suppose you may have to assist. Animal research/technology/bioscience. Etc. Etc. Or, in the Western world, we don't euthanise humans. So if it is the medicine side that is more interesting for you, perhaps consider human medicine.

Now the rule I quoted (from the RCVS) is for the UK. Perhaps schools abroad would not require it-I don't know. Not sure if that is an option for you (expensive) but if it is perhaps worth investigating. However I strongly and truly don't believe you are doing yourself any favours going through all the work of training to be a vet if you are against killing animals as a blanket statement as it really is part of the job and sometimes the best (in my opinion anyway) thing for an animal's welfare.

Best of luck.
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Bagpuss32
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I done 2 days in a slaughterhouse as part of work experience for vet nursing, ( I would have loved to be a vet but can't afford the training). However I prefer nursing and spending time with the animals. I deliberately pick a smaller abattoir as I was told be a vet standards tended to be better? I was not asked to do anything just put of coveralls and a hat, and walked round the place and watched animals been stunned and prepared. I will admit they were the worst 2 days of my life. The noise and smell was horrific. I discussed with the vet - humane slaughter and meat hygiene regulations. You must complete time in the abattoir as part of the vet course, was 2 weeks last time I discussed it was includes meat hygiene and stunning. I,m a veggie. If you are serious about becoming a vet you'll have to grin and bear it.
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CanineVet
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(Original post by AliceEdenYAY)
so I really want to be a vet one day, I know how hard it is and everything, I was just looking for advice about work experience.

when I've emailed veterinary universities, they've replied saying I should get work experience in numerous places, which I'm fine with, but also on the list was a slaughterhouse.

so I did some research and found that if you don't get work experience in one before your degree, you'll have to anyway as part of the course?

I am a vegetarian and strongly disagree with killing animals, so I really do not think I would be able to go to watch and watch animals being killed that way. Of course I know that if I was a vet I may have to put animals down, but that would be a last resort and not for food purposes.

I am basically asking if this is a necessity either before or during a veterinary course or if there is anyway around it? I don't think I'd be able to cope in a slaughterhouse.

I understand that vets have to check that the animals going in are healthy enough to be killed for food, but this is not something I would plan to do in my own veterinary career.

I also understand that the work experience may only be a day or a few days, then I could go on to do whatever within the veterinary industry, but I still don't feel I could cope with that. It's strongly against what I believe.

Has anyone done a veterinary degree or been to a slaughterhouse? What was your experience like?

Any advice?
I haven't been to one yet but I am planning to. As universities say it isn't mandatory, you could possibly get an offer into vet school without an abattoir experience. However, most universities prefer you see it. It is vitally important to understand the role abattoirs play in both veterinary medicine and public health. It shows awareness, a crucial quality needed.

But as others have said, euthanasia and slaughter plays roles out with the abattoir. Within veterinary practise, euthanasia is always there, you will most certainly not get a week in which several pets have been euthanised. Of course this can be pretty distressing but quality of life is absolute key. Euthanasia should not be seen as a last resort but rather as a valid option, if an animal had a serious problem which could possibly be rectified but result in everlasting pain or sever disability would it really be worth it? You have to see things from their perspective too and shouldn't be seen as associated as to eating animals (you aren't going to eat a dog anyway ). With this sort of idea, I, myself, comprehend the views of being allowed to euthanise human beings.

To add to this, animals as livestock is ever present to. If you go to any form of commercial farm the animals there are livestock NOT pets. Farmers don't share the same sentiment to these creatures. Albeit, they are treated with respect, cared for and treated correctly but a farmer won't go as far to help a cow as an owner to its dog. It's a business. Doing work experience at these places you will most certainly hear what the farmer sees with this and I can guarantee it will be very similar if not identical as to what I have stated.

Within vet school, I doubt you will make it five years without stepping foot within nor merely muttering the words, 'abattoir'. It's inevitable you will have to deal with this because it is only realistic, we will never live in a world where all animals are treated as humans and live in complete harmony. When I say this I don't at all believe a cow should be shot at whatever time just because someone wants to - I believe strongly in animal welfare, I love animals and I believe that should all be cared for in a correct and satisfactory manner and be slaughtered and euthanised as humanely as possible.

This does sound very morbid but it isn't. Euthanasia is a crucial part of veterinary medicine but a majority of your day won't involve it. You are there to help animals, to care for them by doing whatever you can to make their lives the most comfortable and beneficial as it could possibly be.


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kookabura
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Tarnia and canine vet have both made lots of good points - so I'm not going to recover them!

I just wanted to expand a little bit and say that whilst you would very likely get into vet school without going to an abattoir, you will have to go to one whilst at vet school - this may be something that you decide you can just tolerate the couple of days off. But something else to consider, a reasonable amount of the course includes farm animal teaching - so placements on dairy, pig, sheep farms as a minimum, and then farm vet work later on. A lot of teaching on production animal diseases etc - you have to be willing to put the time into covering and learning this stuff, even if you disagree with the reason as to why it is occurring.
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Rascacielos
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I have no particular knowledge of VetMed admissions, but I can safely say that, as with anybody, you will have to do things in your career that you are morally against or don't enjoy. You can't always plan your career to be exactly in accordance with what you want to do and believe in, and not expand beyond that - particularly when you're newly qualified.
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saoirse123
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Hi My advice to you is to stand your ground and be the trail blazer. Its bizarre that people qualifying to become vets which after all is looking after animals should require to watch the barbaric and gruesome killing of gentle animals who have the misfortune to be borne a pig cow or sheep. Vegans and vegetarians do not have to participate in organ dissection of animals for biology and a level qualifications and can opt to use computer models. Likewise there is no need to put a foot in the door of a killing chamber. The reason why trainees vets don't kick up a fuss is because their consciousness has not been raised to see food animals for the sentient creatures that they are. Unfortunately just like the 99 of the population who eat flesh vets too have been indoctrinated since birth to view some animals to be property and be disposable to human beings whilst others we treat as members of our family ie dogs, cats horses etc. Be the first on your course to object and refuse to be part of a system that abuses animals. It goes against your human rights to have to have to do something that is against your beliefs. I would recommend you study the articles in the Declaration of Human Rights and quote them the relevant article if they refuse to give you the qualification. Good luck.
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Leigh303
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(Original post by saoirse123)
Hi My advice to you is to stand your ground and be the trail blazer. Its bizarre that people qualifying to become vets which after all is looking after animals should require to watch the barbaric and gruesome killing of gentle animals who have the misfortune to be borne a pig cow or sheep. Vegans and vegetarians do not have to participate in organ dissection of animals for biology and a level qualifications and can opt to use computer models. Likewise there is no need to put a foot in the door of a killing chamber. The reason why trainees vets don't kick up a fuss is because their consciousness has not been raised to see food animals for the sentient creatures that they are. Unfortunately just like the 99 of the population who eat flesh vets too have been indoctrinated since birth to view some animals to be property and be disposable to human beings whilst others we treat as members of our family ie dogs, cats horses etc. Be the first on your course to object and refuse to be part of a system that abuses animals. It goes against your human rights to have to have to do something that is against your beliefs. I would recommend you study the articles in the Declaration of Human Rights and quote them the relevant article if they refuse to give you the qualification. Good luck.
Unfortunately, whilst some vet students may not personally eat meat, many others do, and as a result the meat industry continues. As long as this is the case, vets will be required to provide healthcare for the animals during production and to ensure welfare/inspect the meat in abattoirs. Vets play a role in public health too, not just animal health.

"their consciousness has not been raised to see food animals for the sentient creatures that they are" I have to disagree with this. I love cows, sheep etc and their individual characters but the fact remains there is a large demand for their meat. As part of being a vet at least we can try to benefit their welfare during their lives.



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skatealexia
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(Original post by saoirse123)
Hi My advice to you is to stand your ground and be the trail blazer. Its bizarre that people qualifying to become vets which after all is looking after animals should require to watch the barbaric and gruesome killing of gentle animals who have the misfortune to be borne a pig cow or sheep. Vegans and vegetarians do not have to participate in organ dissection of animals for biology and a level qualifications and can opt to use computer models. Likewise there is no need to put a foot in the door of a killing chamber. The reason why trainees vets don't kick up a fuss is because their consciousness has not been raised to see food animals for the sentient creatures that they are. Unfortunately just like the 99 of the population who eat flesh vets too have been indoctrinated since birth to view some animals to be property and be disposable to human beings whilst others we treat as members of our family ie dogs, cats horses etc. Be the first on your course to object and refuse to be part of a system that abuses animals. It goes against your human rights to have to have to do something that is against your beliefs. I would recommend you study the articles in the Declaration of Human Rights and quote them the relevant article if they refuse to give you the qualification. Good luck.
Don't raise an old thread, thread is now closed. The animals do not get 'abused,' vets are there to see the death is as humane and painless as possible, and to enforce welfare both before, and during slaughter. You *have* to go the a slaughterhouse as part of the course as it is a requirement to understand how the process works, some vets who are vegetarians may work in there to actually improve the welfare for the killing. There are a lot of regulations out there. Think of this; If cows and sheep were not farmed for meat, they would serve no purpose to the growing human population and possibly become either extinct, much lower numbers or endangered. I understand the beliefs of vegetarians, but slaughterhouse killing is *not* black and white, and neither is the role of vets. As a person you clearly do not understand this role.
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skatealexia
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