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Why education is so important

Over the last few blogs we have made a real effort to try and provide information that is relevant and topical to our customers, information that can be used to help make a decision on a range of different subjects, whether it’s having a dental check-up (definitely), to groom or not to groom (groom!) or a few tips to try and help beat the heat during our scorching summer season (can it be that time of year already…?).

The reality is that as a Veterinary Clinic we do feel an obligation to provide useful and usable information that can help our furry friends have long, healthy and happy lives. A point made in our recent blog about why we we’re never too young or too old to learn (read here).

However, sometimes there are issues that have the potential to go beyond the wish to inform, subjects that are actually really important, not only to the wellbeing of individual pets but that actually create ethical debate and polemic opinion.

When these matters are raised it can be difficult to avoid emotive and subjective thought when we aspire to provide fact and science.

And so back to why education is so important…. If the facts of these matters can be communicated in a way that avoids controversy and to an audience that is interested and wanting to make up their own minds based on the many potential motivations, then we move away from the risk of telling and towards the benefits of explaining. We don’t do shouting from soap boxes because as pet owners and animal lovers we all have a collective responsibility to put the health and welfare of animals right up there at the top of our lists.

So, what are these “issues”, these “taboos” that can cause conflict? Well, examples include;

  • “Health over Looks”
    • Relating to breeding designer pets that have been “engineered” to achieve certain aesthetics but at the compromise of health and their species specific needs
  • Puppy Farming
    • Relating to the industry involved with the breeding, importing and selling of puppies
    • Sadly many of these puppies develop serious health issues due to poor practices used by “unscrupulous” breeders
    • And should not be confused with responsible breeders who aspire to protect the individual genetic blueprints of specific breeds
  • Animal sentience
    • The awareness that animals are…, well aware. That their understanding is based upon emotion, learning, experience and memory
    • That they experience joy and loss and love and sadness
  • Environmental impact
    • The many ways in which the world in which we live is changing and the potential future that is being created

Ok, so there are definitely conversations being had about these subjects, conversations that delve deep into the way we look at the world, the way we consider life and the enormity of the responsibility that we actually all have to some degree in how our choices can impact so much of the world around us.

But, whilst scholars, philosophers, politicians and the Kardashians will happily debate the environment and where the world is going, the words of Sir David A will do far more then we at GVC can ever hope to achieve. Likewise, animal sentience is no longer a question. It’s a fact and one that every pet owner will understand implicitly. Anyone who has looked into the eyes of a dog for more than a second will have seen a thoughtful and loving person looking back.   

So, that leaves us with “Health over Looks” and “Puppy Farming” which, I think understandably are where our interests lie. The results of these topics are being seen by our clinical team on a regular basis. Our Vets and Nurses are seeing firsthand the challenges of over-breeding and the consequences of poorly housed and weaned puppies. Where sadly animals are being given a dud hand with the odds stacked against them from the very start.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be highlighting some of the facts that are demonstrably true to these topics and providing some insight into why certain practices are positive and why some should be avoided.

The purpose is to help educate and inform so we can all make our own decisions and understand the potential impact and outcomes. At GVC we know that tough decisions are a daily occurrence and that quality of life is sometimes more important than “a” life. But this is far from a simple subject and we hope to help explain some of the considerations in a way that is constructive and objective (and definitely leaving the soapbox out of it…).   

German Veterinary Clinic

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