The aim of this research was to determine what veterinary students in Australia and New Zealand consider important for animal welfare and ethics (AWE) competence when dealing with wildlife, and to determine how these priorities correlate with gender and stage of study. These students were asked to state their gender and stage of veterinary education and to rank the importance of six AWE topics: (1) "disaster preparedness," (2) "veterinarians' duties to wild animals," (3) "methods and justification for wild animal use" (e.g., harvesting/ hunting, wildlife parks), (4) "tensions between animal-welfare concerns and environmental concerns," (5) "the nature and status of semiowned animals," and (6) "euthanasia," pertaining to wildlife for competence on the first day after their graduation. Data were then analyzed. Of 3,320 students invited to participate, 556 responded to questions about animals in the wild. The AWE topic ranked as the most important was "veterinarians' duties to wild animals," followed by "euthanasia." Senior students ranked "euthanasia" as the most important topic. The rankings of "methods and justification for wild animal use" and "tension between animal welfare and environmental concerns" were significantly less important for students in the later years of study than for those in early years. Male respondents ranked "euthanasia" as more important than female respondents did, especially in later years of study. Senior veterinary students ranked "euthanasia" as the most important AWE topic for day one competency.
- Animal welfare
- Veterinary education