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


Norman Hayward Fund



Research Period


Area of study

Veterinary Education


Led by David Main, University of Bristol and 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.