LAW AND ETHICS OF THE VETERINARY PROFESSION
Chapter 1: The Basics of American Law.
"Moral and ethical constraints are as important as the legal constraints imposed on the veterinary profession" (p. 2). Since Watergate and other ethical and mortal dilemmas in our world, the author explains that most veterinary schools have now added moral and ethical courses to their curriculum. While the difference between an actual law and a code of ethics is the enforceability, a code of ethics seems validated in order to influence the actions of the members of a group.
However, American laws may be written and unwritten, and classified in civil and criminal categories. Civil law has two major subdivisions, contract law and tort law. Criminal law "defines the boundaries of the relationship between the individual and society" (p. 5). America's legal system is usually called an adversary system of justice and has various components, including an unresolvable issue which may require a court trial; the use of an impartial tribunal, namely the judge and jury system; and the need for equality in competence of both defenders and prosecutors, which permits questions to be asked by attorneys. This differs in Continental law, where the judge is the interrogator. Any decision is, of course, open for appeal. However, the chapter suggests that alternative methods for settling disputes may be less time- and money-consuming.
Chapter 2: Veterinary and Animal Ethics.
Philosophical assumptions are made by veterinarians, just as they are made by other professionals. "Among the most important assumptions one makes in life are valuational assumptions" (p. 25). In other words, value judgments. There are also profound value judgments made that are called ethical or moral judgments. How does this affect the veterinarian? Until recently, the ethical problems and judgments were reviewed or examined only when there was a deviation or lapse of "norm...