Maximising value of EMS Placements on Cattle, Sheep and Horse Units


Norman Hayward Fund



Research Period


Area of study

Veterinary Education


Investigator(s): Dr David Main (University of Bristol), Dr Dorothy Mckeegan (University of Glasgow)

The aim of this project was to ensure the maximum benefits to students, farmers/horse owners and animals are gained from the extra-mural studies (EMS) experience requirements of veterinary students on cattle, sheep and horse units. The project also provided research training for a PhD student in animal welfare and ethics education.

  This project aimed to achieve the following benefits

For the veterinary students
  • Applying welfare assessment, health planning and ethics-based knowledge in a practical setting
  • Maximise the animal observation and handling skills training opportunity from EMS
  • Provide additional exposure to ethical issues, enhance ethical awareness and contribute to future development of a Veterinary Ethical Reasoning Tool for use by future veterinary students
  • Encourage engagement of veterinary students with their EMS experience by providing them with specific veterinary aspects to investigate on their placement.
  • Promote understanding of disease prevention and control between and within animal units.
  • Enhance development of the students’ skills, knowledge and attitudes, to give them more confidence and competence in client communication.
For the Farmers/ Horse Owners
  • Maximise positive engagement in teaching students relevant skills and knowledge in animal husbandry
  • Where possible, raise awareness of health and welfare related issues by active participation in student learning
  • Raise awareness of and encourage involvement in health planning
  • Encourage farmers/ horse owners to seek further veterinary advice on health issues raised by the students.
For the Animals
  • Improve animal welfare by promoting disease prevention and control on livestock units
  • Long term improvement in future veterinary student education resulting in improved handling skills and practical application of animal welfare knowledge
  • Encourage use of welfare assessment and health and biosecurity management tools in the farms hosting veterinary students
  • Analysis of data collected by veterinary students will have widespread benefits such as surveillance data for policymakers in animal welfare and for defining priorities for stockmen-related education initiatives.