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Interviews were conducted with 24 graduating veterinary students to examine (a) changes in their attitudes toward animals; (b) the types of experiences and procedures that they found personally distressing; (c) their perceptions of the most important ethical issues that they will face in private practice; and (d) their responses to euthanizing animals. Students’ responses differed considerably. For example, about half of the students claimed that they were not affected by euthanasia, but another 25% still were struggling with this aspect of their professional role. Rationalization was a common mechanism by which the students attempted to deal with stressful experiences. It is argued that the moral dilemmas faced by veterinary students mirror the ethical ambiguities inherent in human-animal relationships.


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