Ethics is key to the integrity of the veterinary profession. Despite its importance, there is a lack of applied research on the range of ethical challenges faced by veterinarians. A three round Policy Delphi with vignette methodology was used to record the diversity of views on ethical challenges faced by veterinary professionals in Ireland. Forty experts, comprising veterinary practitioners, inspectors and nurses, accepted to participate. In round 1, twenty vignettes describing a variety of ethically challenging veterinary scenarios were ranked in terms of ethical acceptability, reputational risk and perceived standards of practice. Round 2 aimed at characterising challenges where future policy development or professional guidance was deemed to be needed. In round 3, possible solutions to key challenges were explored. Results suggest that current rules and regulations are insufficient to ensure best veterinary practices and that a collective approach is needed to harness workable solutions for the identified ethical challenges. Challenges pertaining mostly to the food chain seem to require enforcement measures whereas softer measures that promote professional discretion were preferred to address challenges dealing with veterinary clinical services. These findings can support veterinary representative bodies, advisory committees and regulatory authorities in their decision making, policy and regulation.
University College Dublin ->