Traditional educational practices regarding animal welfare, ethics, law and communication skills are often centered on lecture-based classes where knowledge both theoretical and practical is taught separately with the consequence of a low integration of common learning objectives and learning outcomes. In the course of the summer school, it is our mission to overcome the low integration of learning objectives and outcomes to provide students from various backgrounds (and from different countries) with a structured training program where different subjects are built on each other and are horizontally integrated. In the summer school courses, different methodologies are used through integrations of practical case scenarios which will be processed and discussed from the perspective of animal welfare, veterinary ethics, law and communication. The use of case scenarios in particular has proven to be a practical teaching tool that can be used in an interdisciplinary manner. Therefore, the strong originality of this platform within the currently available training tools and methods to teach animal welfare ethics and law offers the possibility to add value to the traditional veterinary curriculum. Regarding learning objectives, we consider scientific concepts and approaches, and also different perspectives through simultaneously exploring scientific and ethical concepts in the framework of legislation. Furthermore, we consider the additional challenge of being able to use communicational skills in a practical framework. The summer school is used within a collaborative learning setting between students with different cultural backgrounds, and its main strength is the promotion of a dialogue between values and scientific knowledge to develop critical, reflective, and creative thinking.
The aim of this summer school is to contribute to the teaching of animal welfare, veterinary ethics, and law with a focus on small-scale farms and traditional (extensive) production systems that are of particular importance in the Balkan states and Eastern Europe. As an interdisciplinary scheme, the summer school aims to contribute to the VetNEST members’ curricula as an elective course and allow veterinary students to gain knowledge on the topic within a total of 75 working hours investment (3 ECTS credits; 1 ECTS credit = 25 working hours). The first training school will be held and organized in Vienna and followed by other VetNEST member countries in future. VetNEST member institutions shall integrate theoretical and practical teaching goals and integrate them in their curricula in the form of elective subjects. In order to reach the teaching goals, not only theoretical aspects will be presented in lectures and dealt with in workshops. In the course special attention will be given to the roles, responsibilities and activities of veterinary professionals in implementation of animal welfare measures, especially in the development of a communication strategy. Furthermore, the first-hand experience will be acquired through farm visits to learn about a variety of situations in different management conditions, especially about small-scale farms, traditional production, extensive types of breeding (nomad breeding) etc.