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Veterinary Medical Ethics Dontologie vtrinaire

Ethical question of the month May 2012

You are a mixed animal practitioner and an accomplished surgeon with 12 years of experience. You are also a member of the local volunteer fire service in your community and trained in advanced first aid. You are the first responder to a scene where an injured person is in severe respiratory distress. You suspect a tracheal obstruction due to trauma. Your training as a medical first responder does not include invasive procedures and the operating procedures for the fire and paramedic service in your region do not include them either. You receive notice that an ambulance will arrive in 10 to 15 minutes. The patient is turning blue and can hardly breathe. Based on your veterinary training, experience with respiratory emergencies, and your diagnostic skills you have confidence that a simple surgical procedure you are capable of performing would alleviate the respiratory distress of the patient. You also suspect that neither your veterinary practice insurance nor the fire department would cover you if something untoward happened. How should you respond? Should you act as a veterinarian using all your skills, or should you act as a basic first-aider, as per your role as first responder? Submitted by Dr. Martin Appelt, Ottawa, Ontario

Question de dontologie du mois Mai 2012

Vous tes un praticien mixte et un chirurgien chevronn possdant 12 annes dexprience. Vous tes aussi membre du service des pompiers volontaires de votre collectivit et vous avez suivi le cours de premiers soins avanc. Vous tes secouriste oprationnel sur les lieux lorsquune personne blesse souffre dune dtresse respiratoire grave. Vous souponnez une obstruction trachale cause par un traumatisme. Votre formation de secouriste oprationnel ne comprend pas les mthodes effractives et les procdures dexploitation du service des incendies et des services paramdicaux de votre rgion ne les incluent pas non plus. On vous informe quune ambulance arrivera dans 10 15 minutes. Le patient devient bleu et peut peine respirer. En vous fondant sur votre formation vtrinaire, votre exprience des urgences respiratoires et vos comptences de diagnostic, vous tes confiant quune simple intervention chirurgicale que vous pouvez raliser soulagera la dtresse respiratoire du patient. Vous souponnez aussi que ni votre assurance pour la pratique vtrinaire ni celle du service des incendies ne vous couvriront si la situation prenait une mauvaise tournure. Comment devriez-vous ragir? Devriez-vous agir comme un vtrinaire et utiliser toutes vos comptences ou devriez-vous agir comme un secouriste oprationnel de base, conformment votre rle de secouriste oprationnel? Soumise par le D r Martin Appelt, Ottawa (Ontario) Responses to the case presented are welcome. Please limit your reply to approximately 50 words and forward along with your name and address to: Ethical Choices, c/o Dr. Tim Blackwell, Veterinary Science, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, 6484 Wellington Road 7, Unit 10, Elora, Ontario N0B 1S0; telephone: (519) 846-3413; fax: (519) 846-8178; e-mail: tim.blackwell@ontario.ca Suggested ethical questions of the month are also welcome! All ethical questions or scenarios in the ethics column are based on actual events, which are changed, including names, locations, species, etc., to protect the confidentiality of the parties involved. Les rponses au cas prsent sont les bienvenues. Veuillez limiter votre rponse environ 50 mots et nous la faire parvenir par la poste avec vos nom et adresse ladresse suivante : Choix dontologiques, a/s du Dr Tim Blackwell, Science vtrinaire, ministre de lAgriculture, de lAlimentation et des Affaires rurales de lOntario, 6484, chemin Wellington 7, unit 10, Elora, (Ontario) N0B 1S0; tlphone : (519) 846-3413; tlcopieur : (519) 846-8178; courriel : tim.blackwell@ontario.ca Les propositions de questions dontologiques sont toujours bienvenues! Toutes les questions et situations prsentes dans cette chronique sinspirent dvnements rels dont nous modifions certains lments, comme les noms, les endroits ou les espces, pour protger lanonymat des personnes en cause.

Use of this article is limited to a single copy for personal study. Anyone interested in obtaining reprints should contact the CVMA office (hbroughton@cvma-acmv.org) for additional copies or permission to use this material elsewhere. Lusage du prsent article se limite un seul exemplaire pour tude personnelle. Les personnes intresses se procurer des rimpressions devraient communiquer avec le bureau de lACMV (hbroughton@cvma-acmv.org) pour obtenir des exemplaires additionnels ou la permission dutiliser cet article ailleurs.
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Ethical question of the month February 2012


Recently, legislation in Europe and the United States has banned the use of certain housing systems for livestock that severely restrict movement and natural behaviors. These include battery cages for laying hens, crates for veal calves, and gestation stalls for pregnant sows. Comparable legislation banning the use of barren wire cages for housing fur-bearing animals does not exist. There is greater outrage over the killing of wild animals for their fur than there is for the same mammals raised their entire lives in close captivity in barren wire cages. Why are housing systems for food-producing animals under intense scrutiny and regulation while housing systems used in fur farming remain unregulated?

Question de dontologie du mois Fvrier 2012

Rcemment, la loi en Europe et aux tats-Unis a interdit lusage de certains systmes de logement pour le btail qui limitent svrement le mouvement et les comportements naturels. Cela inclut les batteries de cages pour les poules pondeuses, les cages de contention pour les veaux et les stalles de gestation pour les truies gravides. Il nexiste pas de loi comparable interdisant lusage des cages mtalliques vides pour loger les animaux fourrure. Il y a plus dindignation propos de labattage des animaux sauvages pour leur fourrure quil ny en a pour des mammifres levs toute leur vie en captivit dans dtroites cages mtalliques vides. Pourquoi les systmes de logement des animaux destins lalimentation font-ils lobjet dun examen intense et de rglementation tandis que les systmes de logement utiliss dans llevage des animaux fourrure demeurent-ils non rglements?

The premise of this question is wrong fur animals are just as well-protected (or as little protected) as other farm animals, depending on where they live. In Europe, with its detailed European and country-specific welfare laws for all farmed species, legislation does cover how fur animals are housed and sets minimum cage sizes. Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands, for example, are 4 of the countries that also legally require mink and foxes to have environmental enrichment in their cages too. In contrast, there is little federal legal protection for any farm animal (beyond laws about cruelty), including legislation for animals that are farmed for their fur in North America. Legislation in the USA for farm animal welfare is patchy and is specific to each state. It is just pure chance that the few States with fur farms have no legislation covering them. Canada has negligible legislation protecting farm animals, just National Farm Animal Care Council Codes. Fur animals, however, were amongst the first farm animals of any to be covered by such Codes, and the Codes for mink and foxes are currently being updated and improved (for release later this year) as are the Codes for other farmed animals too. Dr. Georgia Mason, Guelph, Ontario

An ethicists commentary on housing for fur animals versus agricultural animals

This is an empirical question about moral psychology that would be best answered by surveying people about their attitudes, though we can speculate about the reasons held by the average citizen. In the first place, virtually everyone in society encounters food animal products on a regular basis. Meat, milk, and eggs are a regular component of the furniture of our life-world. Furthermore, we all harbor stereotypes as to how farm animals are produced. As Paul Thompson pointed out in the early 90s, most urban people, that is to say most people, have very vivid mental pictures of how farm animals are raised, derived from childrens books, cartoons, and the like. For example, the iconic, deeply ingrained image of the dairy cow as an animal, Bessie, or Bossy, lying contentedly on lush green pasture, chewing her cud. As evidenced by the now defunct, ridiculous advertisements depicting happy cows from California, the general public accepted that depiction of dairy cattle as true. The vast majority of people have never seen a 10 000 or 15 000 cow, concrete-based dairy, whose animals have very likely never seen a blade of fresh grass, let alone lain on a green pasture. This idyllic set of conditions is virtually extinct, yet remains the mental snapshot of the dairy cow for the overwhelming majority of the public. It is a lovely, comfort466

ing image of an animal that has been called the mother of the human race. Furthermore, to a large extent, this picture was true for animals kept under pastoral conditions, though clearly not always true. Nonetheless, structural deviation from pastoral conditions was virtually unknown, although even in the era of husbandry there were people who were bad stewards of their animals. I am painfully and embarrassingly aware of the fact that, until I left New York City for Colorado, I was certain that baby pigs gamboled in fields, and sows happily rooted on soft loam, and chickens pecked in barnyards. Indeed, having raised animals under that sort of condition, I would prefer to believe in that as the norm, where my animals had names and I recognized them as having individual personalities. When Swedish icon Astrid Lindgren first encountered a confinement swine facility, she went directly to the legislature and demanded laws restoring farming as she knew it. In the case of animals used for fur, there are no indelible positive images imprinted upon us from childhood. Had anyone asked me where fur came from before I became involved in animal issues, I would have made some vague remarks about trapping, particularly leg-hold traps that drowned the animals
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or induced terror in them, or being shot, as was the case with Bambis mother. Instead of having an idyllic image supplanted by a nightmarish one, the exact opposite occurred, and I was relieved that the animals were raised in cages, at least until I learned the realities of the industry. The good news is that, with increased and ever-increasing societal concern about animals, and growing activist or media-driven publicity, we can expect public attention to focus on all animals in confinement.

And since the vast majority of people neither seek out nor aspire to owning furs, we will very likely witness an end to fur as a desirable consumer item, as has in fact already occurred. Fake fur can probably go a long way to satisfying the desire for furs, except in those committed to conspicuous consumption.

Bernard E. Rollin, PhD


CVJ / VOL 53 / MAY 2012