Ethics and Values Program

From its foundation, the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University has led the way in instruction and application of ethics in veterinary education. Building upon the ethical platform established by its progressive DVM Animal Use practices and policies, the Cummings School has embedded study and exploration of ethics into its DVM core curriculum, and opened opportunities for interested students to further develop their interests through selectives, seminars and symposia sponsored by the Center for Animals and Public Policy.

Veterinary medicine is changing rapidly, as the profession responds to changes within its membership and to changes in the roles and status of animals in society. Polls, economic indicators, and well-publicized displays of personal attachment to pets—such as the refusal of many people to evacuate their homes if it meant abandoning their dogs and cats following Hurricane Katrina—all demonstrate that many people now treat their dogs and cats as family members. At the same time, public interest is growing with regard to animal welfare in agriculture, research and the environment.

More than ever, veterinarians need to be educated to respond thoughtfully to the different ways in which animals are valued by their clients, employers and communities, and to understand how to combine their scientific and medical training with a firm grounding in ethics. The education in ethics and values that we provide at Cummings prepares our graduates to take a leadership role in educating their clients and guiding their communities as they deal with the complex issues that arise in our relationships with animals.