There has been general concern in Ghana and around the world over the way animals are treated in society.
Veterinarians are therefore well placed to understand animal welfare and communicate it to the general public.
The KNUST school of veterinary medicine in collaboration with the Animal Welfare League therefore organized a seminar on animal welfare for veterinary students.
The inaugural lecture covered topics ranging from animal welfare in clinical practice, animal welfare and health, to individual animal welfare advocacy.
The Dean of the School, Professor Benjamin Obukowho Emikpe stressed that the seminar is crucial in their professional practice.
He also urged students to adopt a pet.
“Students will see the need to take care of animals and this will be reflected in the way they take care of society. They will therefore be the defenders of animal welfare.
“They’re not just doctors, they understand what they need to do to keep animals alive.
“What we basically do is cultivate a habit in our students. Either a class adopts a pet or a group of students adopts a pet,” he said.
Professor Emikpe hinted that the school is partnering with the School of Business, KNUST, to develop entrepreneurial skills in students.
“One of the very important things especially at 21st century is to begin to train entrepreneurial veterinarians. From school, they should be trained to understand that they can be alone and be successful.
“The School of Veterinary Medicine, KNUST, is partnering with the business school to launch a combined program which we call the DVM/MBA project. This is where students with very high grades, around 65 and over in the fourth year, will be allowed to do an MBA alongside what they do in the clinical year,” he said.
Veterinarian and lecturer at the school, Dr. Oliver Boakye urged students to maintain lifelong learning in order to provide better services.
“For a veterinarian, you have to continually improve your skills and develop them in order to provide that kind of animal care,” he said.
Ms Ulla Deventer, a PhD candidate in KNUST’s Department of Painting and Sculpture and an animal lover, was concerned about the mistreatment of horses across the country.
She wants policies on animal ownership and abuse.
“We still have to face our policies and our laws. Maybe on paper the animals are our property, but what I want us to think about is that means I have the right to abuse them and control them, whether it’s of a human being or an animal,” she said.
Ms. Deventer emphasized the responsibilities of humans to animals.
“As human beings, we are the ones with the power and it is so easy to abuse it, so that is where our responsibility comes in. That is why we also have to start thinking, what is it? what does it mean to own a pet?” she explained.
The seminar was sponsored by the International Veterinary Student Association (IVSA).