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Two Worlds in One: What ‘Counts’ as Animal Advocacy for Veterinarians Working in UK Animal Research?

McGlacken, Renelle; Anderson, Alistair; Hobson-West, Pru


Renelle McGlacken


The concept of advocacy is of increasing importance to the veterinary profession internationally. However, there are concerns around the ambiguity and complexity of acting as an advocate in practice. This paper explores what 'animal advocacy' involves for veterinarians working in the domain of animal research, where they are responsible for advising on health and welfare. In focusing on the identity of veterinarians working in an arena of particular contestation, this paper provides empirical insights into how veterinarians themselves perform their role as an 'animal advocate'. Analysing interview data with 33 UK 'Named Veterinary Surgeons', this paper therefore examines what 'counts' as animal advocacy for veterinarians, considering the way their role as animal advocate is performed. Focusing on the themes of ‘mitigating suffering’, ‘speaking for’, and ‘driving change’ as three central ways in which veterinarians working in animal research facilities act as animal advocates, we draw out some of the complexities for veterinarians working in areas where animal care and harm coexist. Finally, we conclude by calling for further empirical exploration of animal advocacy in other veterinary domains and for more critical attention to the wider social systems which produce the need for such advocacy.


McGlacken, R., Anderson, A., & Hobson-West, P. (2023). Two Worlds in One: What ‘Counts’ as Animal Advocacy for Veterinarians Working in UK Animal Research?. Animals, 13(5), Article 776.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 10, 2023
Online Publication Date Feb 21, 2023
Publication Date Feb 21, 2023
Deposit Date Feb 17, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 17, 2023
Journal Animals
Electronic ISSN 2076-2615
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 5
Article Number 776
Keywords General Veterinary; Animal Science and Zoology
Public URL
Publisher URL


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