FVE European Code of Conduct: Veterinarians and Animals

Dierenarts & Praktijk

1.2 Veterinarians and Animals 

Veterinarians shall respect animals as sentient beings. Veterinarians shall have knowledge of animal health and welfare science, ethics and law.

Veterinarians shall ensure/restore the welfare of the animals under their care in whichever section of the veterinary profession they work, bearing in mind the five freedoms and promoting positive welfare.

Animals should experience both a good life and a humane death without unnecessary suffering.


1. Veterinarians should use the least stressful techniques necessary for sound diagnosis and treatment;

2. Beyond first aid, veterinarians should only undertake veterinary services where they possess adequate knowledge and skills. If they do not, veterinarians should refer the case to a more experienced colleague;

3. Veterinarians should attempt to relieve animals’ pain and suffering. If their condition is untreatable, the option of euthanasia should be discussed with the animal’s owner;

4. Euthanasia must be practised with as little pain, distress and fear as possible;

5. In urgent cases where there are no available means to prevent excessive suffering of the animals), veterinarians should consider euthanasia even without the owner’s permission. When taking such a decision veterinarians should consider all possible treatments to the best of their knowledge assuming full responsibility;

6. When a veterinarian is presented with an injured animal whose clinical signs cannot be attributed to the history the owner provides and which could possibly relate to animal abuse or neglect, the veterinarian should report their suspicions;

7. When veterinarians become aware of animal welfare legislation breaches, they should immediately bring this to the attention of the owner of the animals) and do everything within their power to solve the problem. Where applicable, veterinarians should report breaches to the relevant Competent Authority.

(Source: FVE European Code of Conduct)

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