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Megan Donald

 Megan Donald

PhD candidate



I’m a PhD student in the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences at the University of Glasgow. I’m specifically a human geographer and am fascinated in how social and cultural processes shape the world’s geographies. This year is my 6th year in the school, having completed my Undergraduate and Masters degrees here before starting my PhD in 2014.

The topic of my PhD focusses on the lives of veterinary surgeons and their animal patients. 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.

Research and Teaching Interests

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.

My research is relevant to (veterinary) medical humanities through this concern with the tensions between medical science and emotion, humans and animals, and care as a social property that occurs intimately and at wider scales.




  • College of Science and Engineering, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences