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The Veterinary Surgeon as Sensuous Scientist: Refashioning Care and Expertise in Animal Landscapes

The Veterinary Surgeon as Sensuous Scientist: Refashioning Care and Expertise in Animal Landscapes

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Main contact:   Megan Donald

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Veterinary surgeons are people who provide care across species and across scales. They are at once practitioners of an exact science and communicators of unspoken animal feeling. Alongside their practical function as multi-species medical carers, vet practices can be figured as sites for the negotiation of more-than-human geographies, where the ethical relations between humans and animals, and scientific knowledge and emotional literacy, are subject to experiment. By looking at animal-human suffering, animal euthanasia and wider relational geographies of veterinary care education, I aim to explore an understanding of empathy which involves both human and animal experience.

Particular questions guide my work and fascinate me: how do vets learn their medical knowledges and manage to adapt them in practice? How do they also learn to become compassionate to their animal patients and clients? How are these skills worked and re-worked in practical and creative ways? What do the animals feel about this?

Overall then, I’m interested in investigating veterinary care as an empathetic practice in order to re-imagine it as inherently comprised of emotional relations and embodied compassion, so that veterinary medicine is respected as more than just an objective, evidence-based science.

Image Credit: Megan Donald