Vegan & Prevet

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Aeturna

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I want to work with psittacines, so interaction with food animals will probably be minimal, but will this be looked down on in Vet school admissions? Will being vegan prevent me from achieving my dream job? Should I even talk about this in a future PS or list my vegan related activities? I've read the vegan allopathic doctor thread but I'm thinking this might be a bigger deal breaker in regards to animal medicine.

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I'm vegetarian, and I know it's different, but I know many a veg vet (SA, anyways). I really don't think that it would even have to come up in admissions, but if you refuse to learn about "food animals" in school...that would become a problem. You have to LEARN about all of the species required of a DVM grad, whether you plan to treat them or not.
 
I want to work with psittacines, so interaction with food animals will probably be minimal, but will this be looked down on in Vet school admissions? Will being vegan prevent me from achieving my dream job? Should I even talk about this in a future PS or list my vegan related activities? I've read the vegan allopathic doctor thread but I'm thinking this might be a bigger deal breaker in regards to animal medicine.

Are you kidding me, the only thing that has a higher concentration of vegetarians and vegans than vet school is a hippie convention.
 
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I want to work with psittacines, so interaction with food animals will probably be minimal, but will this be looked down on in Vet school admissions? Will being vegan prevent me from achieving my dream job? Should I even talk about this in a future PS or list my vegan related activities? I've read the vegan allopathic doctor thread but I'm thinking this might be a bigger deal breaker in regards to animal medicine.

No, I don't think that this will prevent you from achieving your 'dream job,' but I do think that you'll need to keep an open mind- both in veterinary school, and while in practice. You'll also need to deal with questions like the following:

3. Discuss how you would respond to a small animal client who asks, "How can a veterinarian be involved in an industry, such as animal agriculture, which kills millions of animals each year?"

This was one of the questions posed on NC State's supplemental application this year.

So was this one....

4. There is a strain of chickens that are naturally blind due to hereditary retinal degeneration. These chickens start reproduction earlier and produce more eggs per cycle than their sighted counterparts. In addition, these blind birds are less aggressive and less stressed from human interaction. By all measures, the animal welfare of these blind birds are higher than their sighted counterparts. Given this fact, is it ethically appropriate to shift over to all blind chickens as a solution to our animal welfare problems that are associated with commercial egg production? Is this permissible on animal welfare grounds? Why or Why not?

Similar issues may also crop up in interviews.

Food animal medicine is a reality of the veterinary profession. Even though you choose not to partake in meat consumption, you will need to understand food animal species (obviously) and take an active role in supporting your fellow practitioners' participation in this aspect of the profession. You would not have the option to simply 'bow out' of all things related to food animal.
 
As far as classmates go, if you aren't bossy or superior acting about it, no one is gonna care. If someone makes a big deal about it just to be rude, they're probably a jerk anyway - right? Just be ready to deal with the realities of things like FA medicine etc, but that's it.
 
As far as classmates go, if you aren't bossy or superior acting about it, no one is gonna care. If someone makes a big deal about it just to be rude, they're probably a jerk anyway - right? Just be ready to deal with the realities of things like FA medicine etc, but that's it.

Don't worry, grew up in Montana so I'm used to the judgements and I really never say anything about it until I have to eat somewhere and only have salad to eat. I really don't mind learning about FA medicine, I'd just prefer to not help out the meat industry. There's actually a farm animal sanctuary that I was going to help out at in the summer but I had some medical issues that prevented me from moving around too much,
 
Don't worry, grew up in Montana so I'm used to the judgements and I really never say anything about it until I have to eat somewhere and only have salad to eat. I really don't mind learning about FA medicine, I'd just prefer to not help out the meat industry. There's actually a farm animal sanctuary that I was going to help out at in the summer but I had some medical issues that prevented me from moving around too much,

Are you against using all animal derived products? I ask because drugs like heparin (comes from pigs) are used frequently in all areas of a VTH.
 
Don't worry, grew up in Montana so I'm used to the judgements and I really never say anything about it until I have to eat somewhere and only have salad to eat. I really don't mind learning about FA medicine, I'd just prefer to not help out the meat industry. There's actually a farm animal sanctuary that I was going to help out at in the summer but I had some medical issues that prevented me from moving around too much,

Keep in mind that you will probably have to do some sort of large animal/food animal rotation during your clinical years of vet school, and this will undoubtedly include treating animals that are raised for meat.
 
Are you against using all animal derived products? I ask because drugs like heparin (comes from pigs) are used frequently in all areas of a VTH.

(Just became vegan at the start of the month/ am still fleshing out my thghts on it all and dont consider myself to be the "normal" vegan so take my thoughts with a grain of salt) I'm against using animal products (heparin would count) but in the event that it is used to further another animal's health, I have no problem. It's using animal products for myself that are unnecessary (such as food, where I can eat non animal products instead) that I draw the line.
 
You are going to have to be willing to work with and on food animals, since I think it's unlikely you will get through vet school without doing some farm animal work and clinical rotations. It's possible that by the time you get there you'll have a school with 100% streaming and no food animal work, but strongly consider the possibility that you'll have to work with and on animals that will be used for food. If you're OK with that, then your personal choices of how to eat aren't a factor.
 
Don't worry, grew up in Montana so I'm used to the judgements and I really never say anything about it until I have to eat somewhere and only have salad to eat. I really don't mind learning about FA medicine, I'd just prefer to not help out the meat industry. There's actually a farm animal sanctuary that I was going to help out at in the summer but I had some medical issues that prevented me from moving around too much,

You can also think of it this way; at vet school you're learning to alleviate some of their problems and keep them as healthy and comfortable as they can be even considering their circumstances. I volunteer at a farm animal sanctuary and the animals there definitely need a knowledgeable vet who understands food animals' health issues, so large animal and food animal vets are really necessary even to people and animals that are not going to be used for food production (at sanctuaries and for animals kept as pets) and you'll be learning about how to help these guys even if you don't support the meat industry. Quite a few of the animals at both the sanctuaries I've been volunteering at are treated by vet students at the two states vet schools, so in school you might even be practicing on rescued farm animals.
 
If you haven't yet, I'd highly recommend reading some of Temple Grandin's books. She's designed the system used in nearly all US slaughterhouses, citing her autism as a way to help her understand how an animal might feel going through one, thus making the process more humane. She's had to come to terms with similar issues and her passion is constantly questioned by people who ask her how she could be responsible for the slaughter of millions of animals yet still say she loves them. The short answer is that realistically, most people will eat meat and factory farming will continue, so it's better to improve the process so the animals involved can experience better welfare. She's also said that nature is cruel and many animals die long, painful deaths everyday, so to be a food animal that's treated humanely and given as quick and painless a death as possible isn't necessarily the worst thing in the world. I'm not sure if you've ever seen the slaughter process, but it certainly doesn't seem like a terrible way to go. I know it can be hard to put your emotions aside, but if you look at it as though you're promoting the industry, you'll make it harder on yourself. I think it's much better to work to improve the health and welfare of food animals rather than turn your back and allow unnecessary suffering to continue, even if you don't agree with the process.
Anyway, that's just my two cents and Temple Grandin says it much more eloquently than I can, so read her books. If this is an issue you're really struggling with, her perspective might help you.

I'm a vegetarian by the way.
 
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I haven't read any of the other responses because I'm up to my eyeballs in week 1 stuff but I'm vegan and I go to vet school. There are probably 2-3 other vegans in my class and many vegetarians. I didn't mention it in my PS but would have if I had been specifically asked at an interview (Cornell doesn't interview). I don't make a big deal out of it but everyone here has been extremely welcoming. At our three provided orientation-lunches this week there were vegan/non-diary options every day which was totally unexpected and amazing. :)

If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me.
 
If you haven't yet, I'd highly recommend reading some of Temple Grandin's books.

Temple Grandin is one of my heroes. I've met her in person, and she has autographed one of her books on my behalf. Truly, an amazing human being that has done more to improve the collective welfare of animals on our planet than most of us could ever dream of doing. She is an exemplary role model.

Great suggestion, Too Love!
 
Have you read her Animals in Translation? I just got it but haven't started it yet.
 
Temple Grandin is one of my heroes. I've met her in person, and she has autographed one of her books on my behalf. Truly, an amazing human being that has done more to improve the collective welfare of animals on our planet than most of us could ever dream of doing. She is an exemplary role model.

Great suggestion, Too Love!

I've been fortunate enough to meet her as well, and see her speak. She's definitely one of my favorite animal people!

I have read Animals in Translation a few times :) Animals Make Us Human is my favorite of her books though.

Emiloo, if you're looking for another good read Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat by Hal Herzog is also really good!
 
Thanks so much to everyone who gave advice, really appreciate that all of you took the time to answer some of my questions. :) Ill be sure to check out some of Temple Grandin's work!
 
I am also lame and just skimmed the other replies, but I want to put in my two cents!

In my community activities, I listed that I was a member of and then held an officer position in my school's vegan club. I listed animal experience at a (loudly vegan) farm animal sanctuary. I listed employment experience at a vegetarian restaurant. They still let me in to vet school ... twice. ;)

One of my classmates was asked during her interview for her opinion on lab animal medicine, and another on her perspective on animal rights vs. animal welfare, so make sure you can answer stuff like that in case it comes up.
 
By the way, I don't know how a ton about animal sanctuaries, but I don't know of any that have their own full or part time vet. (I've emailed over a dozen trying to find large animal vet shadowing.) So, if your long-term career plan is to work at a sanctuary, realize that you may only get a couple hours of a work a week. I imagine that the supply of vegan vets who want to work on sanctuaries greatly outstrips the demand. (There seems to be more room for staff vets at wildlife rescues/rehabs.) The good news is that there are still countless ways to help animals as a vegan vet who doesn't want to do things like declaws and ear docking. Personally, I plan to work in shelter medicine or at a feral cat TNR clinic.

:confused: What does being vegan, specifically, have to do with not wanting to do declaws and ear docking?

Ear cropping, tail docking, and declaws are controversial because of animal pain/welfare concerns, which are not exclusive to vegans. They are concerns of anyone in veterinary medicine.

Edited to add: I'm not trying to be snarky, but rather just wanted to mention than comments like that can be misconstrued as inferring that vegans would be less likely to accept performing such procedures than non-vegans; that only contributes to the (most often incorrect) stereotype of vegans thinking they are morally superior or whatever you want to call it..
 
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I didn't mean to imply that those are concerns exclusive to vegans, just to point to some examples of things someone probably doesn't want to do if they're interested in vet med from a vegan/animal rights perspective. I don't know any vegan vets myself, but I know a number who won't do cosmetic surgeries on animals.

Not to pick on you at all, but animal rights is probably not the best term to throw around...in regards to cosmetic surgery, I think it's more of an animal welfare and humane treatment issue as opposed to animal rights. I hate to nitpick, but they are not one and the same, rather they're two very different points of view. Many ad coms are sensitive about animal rights, so it could make or break your app if you confuse the two.
 
I didn't mean to imply that those are concerns exclusive to vegans, just to point to some examples of things someone probably doesn't want to do if they're interested in vet med from a vegan/animal rights perspective. I don't know any vegan vets myself, but I know a number who won't do cosmetic surgeries on animals.

Except tail docking/declawing are animal welfare issues - and every person who enters vet school should be passionate about animal welfare - "interested in vet med from an animal welfare perspective", whether they are a vegan or not. Just because I eat meat does not make me any less passionate about animal welfare - if anything, I personally feel it makes me MORE passionate because the welfare of the animals in my food supply chain is so important to me.

I think I know what you're trying to say, but honestly you are coming dangerously close to inadvertantly saying that vegans care more about animals than non-vegans. Thats a mistake that is ok to make on these forums, but definately not in interviews or app essays. Make sure you have your explanations etc down pat so you don't get yourself confused.
 
Yes, my comment was meant to distinguish between animal WELFARE and animal RIGHTS, not between animal rights and veganism. They are not interchangeable, and as sunshinevet said that won't fly on an application of during an interview. :)
 
I'm not the least bit confused. But thanks for assuming that someone's who's been a pro-science vegan almost as long as most of you have been alive has no clue about any of these distinctions, and that I am bumbling around unaware of my word choices.

Assuming that the original poster might identify with an "animal rights" perspective when they declare themselves to be vegan and say they don't want to "help the meat industry" is like assuming that someone who enjoyed Reagan's memoir and doesn't like welfare programs might also vote Republican. Identifying as "vegan" and identifying as a supporter of "animal rights" are not the same thing, but the overlap is heavy enough that it's safe to make an initial assessment that it's within the realm of possibility that a person who identifies as one identifies as both. Nowhere did I say that all vegans are animal rights activists. Nowhere did I say that there's no difference between "animal welfare" and "animal rights." I wrote my replies for the original poster using the most inclusive and broad language.

I totally get where you're coming from with your response but for what it's worth I think people were just trying to be nice and make sure a possible newbie didn't mess up an interview somehow. Animal rights versus animal welfare has been debated to death so I hope that's not what this turns into. Welfare is a vast continuum and I know vets and current vet students who feel differently on things like tail docking and declaws than I do. Assuming on the internet is always bad! For everyone! :oops:

PS - I enjoy your Reagan analogy!
 
I'm vegan as well. I'll skim through the thread after work tonight and post more :)
 
I finally got a chance to skim the thread. I really don't have much to say :D

I am happy to hear that there are other vegan vets-to-be. A year ago, I thought I was one-of-a-kind being vegetarian. I've witnessed a couple of debates get very heated on here and it can get pretty personal.

My advice is to follow your heart. If you are the type of vegan that cannot handle putting your morals aside to get through school, vet school may not be the best option for you. I haven't gone to veterinary school yet, but I like to think of it as a learning opportunity. It will allow me to better understand the views of non-vegans who want to be vets and I am hoping that it will teach me a lot more than what I've read in books and studies and what I have seen in the media.

I'm a vegan (of 9 months now) for ethics, the environment and human health. I strongly believe that we need to drastically reduce our meat consumption to solve these problems. I believe it can be done and that we aren't that far away. I am also trying to disprove some myths as well. I am starting training for a fitness competition in the spring as a vegan. Many people swear it cannot be done without eating animals or whey... I want to prove them wrong :D

I also don't feel that veganism is going to hinder my ability to practice veterinary medicine. I am interested in small animal, wildlife, exotics and research. The only reason I am not interested in LA, zoo, equine or production animals is that I have had limited interaction with them. I have been trying though. I even asked the boyfriend to take me to a production animal auction so I can experience what it is like. That's the closest experience I can get at this time unfortunately.

Best of luck on your journey.

PS I went to Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen a couple of weeks ago. I absolutely loved it. I wanted to meet a pig so badly and finally got the opportunity to!
 
I've been vegan for almost eight years now and I was a little concerned I'd be the only veg vet student so it's nice to hear they are more prevalent than I thought :)
 
I've been vegan for almost eight years now and I was a little concerned I'd be the only veg vet student so it's nice to hear they are more prevalent than I thought :)

We're everywhere.

*creeper*
 
I'm vegan and pre-vet as well, and I hope that when my education is all said and done that I will be able to find work as a shelter veterinarian.
 
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