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Prioritising the best interests of the animal and re-framing veterinary negligence

Schnobel, Samantha Anne (2017)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Veterinary negligence within the United Kingdom is under-litigated and under-theorised. Further, the owner-property dyadic means those who have suffered emotional harm cannot claim whilst veterinarians lack external guidance on evolving expectations. To address this tension, this thesis aims to provide guidance to veterinarians on their legal obligations stemming from the triangular relationship between veterinarian, owner, and animal, and to advance the position of the animal within this relationship by advocating a best interests approach. At the damage stage, a sentient constitutive property model, in which the reciprocal relationship between owner and animal is central, will be advocated. The veterinarian’s duty will similarly shift from one which protects the claimant’s financial interest, to one protecting the integrity of the reciprocal relationship. Where the animal’s best interests are at risk, veterinarians may be protected from liability where they have acted to protect this interest. Looking to breach, the importance of expert testimony necessitates profession-wide support of these ideas. To achieve this, new professional guidance developed by a representative council who embrace the aims of this thesis is advocated. Grounding these ideas is the position that courts should be alive to doctrinal aspects of vulnerability and reason decisions based on compassion and fairness.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):McIvor, Claire and Fox, Marie
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Birmingham Law School
Subjects:HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
K Law (General)
QL Zoology
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:7246
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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