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Careers in Animal Advocacy: Veterinary Medicine


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Qualifications sorely needed by the animal protection movement include medicine, nutrition/dietetics, veterinary medicine, law, education, and supporting specialisations, such as graphic/web design and fundraising/marketing. The advantages of acquiring a professional qualification and career include increased expertise and credibility when campaigning on issues, considerably increased funds for campaigning, the ability to take charge of one’s own campaigns, and increased ability to travel internationally as required (including well-earned rest breaks in exotic locations, which may be required often). These topics, including several suitable exotic locations, will be reviewed.

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Careers in Animal Advocacy: Veterinary Medicine

  1. 1. Professional Careers in Animal Advocacy: Veterinary Medicine      ANDREW KNIGHT DipECAWBM (AWSEL), DACAW, PhD, MANZCVS, MRCVS, SFHEA
  2. 2. Professional animal advocacy:Professional animal advocacy: key qualifications/skillskey qualifications/skills  MedicineMedicine  Nutrition/dieteticsNutrition/dietetics  LawLaw  EducationEducation  Veterinary medicineVeterinary medicine  Photography/videographyPhotography/videography  Graphic/web designGraphic/web design  IT supportIT support  Fundraising/marketingFundraising/marketing  Business managementBusiness management  AccountingAccounting • Movie/rock star!Movie/rock star!
  3. 3. Professional advocacy:Professional advocacy: benefitsbenefits  Expert knowledge Expert knowledge   Credibility with legislators, media, scientists, consumers, Credibility with legislators, media, scientists, consumers,  etc.etc.  Money for campaigningMoney for campaigning  Increased ability to decide strategyIncreased ability to decide strategy  Satisfying employment, professional working Satisfying employment, professional working  environmentsenvironments  Ability to travelAbility to travel
  4. 4. - Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
  5. 5. Why should you become a professional animal advocate?
  6. 6. You’ll never have to do any work !!!
  7. 7. World travelWorld travel
  8. 8. ConferencesConferences
  9. 9. Gourmet vegetarian food !!Gourmet vegetarian food !!
  10. 10. Fun actions and eventsFun actions and events
  11. 11. EvenEven fun-fun-er events !!er events !!
  12. 12. CastlesCastles
  13. 13. MountainsMountains
  14. 14. BeachesBeaches
  15. 15. What are you waiting for ???
  16. 16. Veterinary medicineVeterinary medicine as a career pathas a career path
  17. 17. Types of veterinary practiceTypes of veterinary practice  Types of practice: community spay/neuter clinics, shelterTypes of practice: community spay/neuter clinics, shelter medicine, wildlife practice, small animal practice, equine,medicine, wildlife practice, small animal practice, equine, farm animal, laboratory animal medicine, public healthfarm animal, laboratory animal medicine, public health (e.g. USDA), slaughterhouse inspection(e.g. USDA), slaughterhouse inspection
  18. 18. Realities of veterinary practiceRealities of veterinary practice  Attitudes towards animals can be poorAttitudes towards animals can be poor  Working conditions can be poorWorking conditions can be poor
  19. 19. Costs of a veterinary educationCosts of a veterinary education  Tuition: $20-40k. Varies with ‘in state vs out of state’Tuition: $20-40k. Varies with ‘in state vs out of state’  Student living costs: $15-20k + x 4 yearsStudent living costs: $15-20k + x 4 years  Total (mid-range estimate): $190,000Total (mid-range estimate): $190,000  Loss of earning potential for 4 years (undergrad degreeLoss of earning potential for 4 years (undergrad degree takes 4 more years)takes 4 more years)  Cheaper overseasCheaper overseas
  20. 20. Veterinary salariesVeterinary salaries  $65k new graduate$65k new graduate  $97k median small animal practitioner$97k median small animal practitioner  $more for specialists (ophthalmologists, surgeons$more for specialists (ophthalmologists, surgeons highest)highest)  UK average: £40k = $65kUK average: £40k = $65k
  21. 21. Gaining admission to vet schoolGaining admission to vet school  Undergraduate subjects: chemistry (inorganic &Undergraduate subjects: chemistry (inorganic & organic), biology, microbiology, physics,, biology, microbiology, physics, English. Possibly also: physiology, nutrition, calculus.Possibly also: physiology, nutrition, calculus. Undergrad degrees normal, but not necessarilyUndergrad degrees normal, but not necessarily essentialessential  Grades: ~3.5+ GPA to be competitive, GRE mostGrades: ~3.5+ GPA to be competitive, GRE most schools, MCAT someschools, MCAT some  Veterinary work experience: as much diverse vetVeterinary work experience: as much diverse vet experience as possibleexperience as possible.. US: minimum 180 hrs; 2,500US: minimum 180 hrs; 2,500 hrs to be competitivehrs to be competitive  3 letters of recommendation: 1-2 from veterinarians;3 letters of recommendation: 1-2 from veterinarians; one from a faculty memberone from a faculty member
  22. 22.  Personal statement/letter: reasons why youPersonal statement/letter: reasons why you’re likely to’re likely to succeed, qualities/interests you can offer the professionsucceed, qualities/interests you can offer the profession  Admission interviews decreasing?Admission interviews decreasing?  DoDo NOTNOT express any animal rights sympathies untilexpress any animal rights sympathies until safely enrolled!safely enrolled!  Admissions formulae vary with schoolsAdmissions formulae vary with schools  Easier admission abroad?Easier admission abroad?
  23. 23. Animal use in vet schoolAnimal use in vet school  Non Harmful: animal handling, clinical experienceNon Harmful: animal handling, clinical experience including beneficial surgeriesincluding beneficial surgeries  Harmful: preclinical (physiology, biochemistry,Harmful: preclinical (physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, parasitology, anatomy), surgical, largepharmacology, parasitology, anatomy), surgical, large animal rotations, farms, slaughterhousesanimal rotations, farms, slaughterhouses  Poor attitudes towards animal use/alternatives veryPoor attitudes towards animal use/alternatives very commoncommon
  24. 24. Humane alternativesHumane alternatives  Preclinical:Preclinical: computer simulations, videos, plasticizedcomputer simulations, videos, plasticized specimens, models, ethically sourced cadavers, non-specimens, models, ethically sourced cadavers, non- invasive self-experimentationinvasive self-experimentation  Clinical/Surgical:Clinical/Surgical: surgical simulators, ethically-sourcedsurgical simulators, ethically-sourced cadaver surgery (usu. via body donation programs),cadaver surgery (usu. via body donation programs), supervised surgical experience, animal sheltersupervised surgical experience, animal shelter sterilisation programssterilisation programs
  25. 25. Humane Society Veterinary Medical AssociationHumane Society Veterinary Medical Association
  26. 26.
  27. 27. Surviving vet schoolSurviving vet school  Gaining admission: organised, focused, patient andGaining admission: organised, focused, patient and persistent. Will probably take yearspersistent. Will probably take years  Will have to work with animal researchers, staff andWill have to work with animal researchers, staff and students with poor ethical attitudes towards animals.students with poor ethical attitudes towards animals. You will be vastly outnumberedYou will be vastly outnumbered  SupportSupport  Friends/familyFriends/family  InterNICHE email listInterNICHE email list  HSVMA email listHSVMA email list
  28. 28.  Hours:Hours: >40-50 hrs/wk class/lab time for first 3 yrs; 80>40-50 hrs/wk class/lab time for first 3 yrs; 80 hrs/wk clinic work 4th yr. Also 14-24 hours of homehrs/wk clinic work 4th yr. Also 14-24 hours of home study. Social/personal life severely compromisedstudy. Social/personal life severely compromised ““4 years of very hard work (put social life on hold), ~ $160,000 in4 years of very hard work (put social life on hold), ~ $160,000 in costs, experience frustration, taking exams every week, sleepcosts, experience frustration, taking exams every week, sleep deprivation, caffeine”deprivation, caffeine” - Armaiti May DVM- Armaiti May DVM
  29. 29. The rewardsThe rewards  Expert knowledgeExpert knowledge  Credibility with legislators, media, scientists, consumers,Credibility with legislators, media, scientists, consumers, etc.etc.  Money for campaigningMoney for campaigning  Increased ability to decide strategyIncreased ability to decide strategy  Satisfying employment, professional workingSatisfying employment, professional working environmentsenvironments  Ability to travelAbility to travel