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

Schnobel, Samantha Anne (2017). Prioritising the best interests of the animal and re-framing veterinary negligence. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Birmingham Law School
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
K Law > K Law (General)
Q Science > QL Zoology


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