Naked vets who left ve­gans vexed

Scottish Daily Mail - - Comment - By Colin Fer­nan­dez En­vi­ron­ment Cor­re­spon­dent

A PRES­TI­GIOUS vets’ col­lege has been ac­cused of cav­ing in to ve­gan hard­lin­ers in a row over a char­ity cal­en­dar.

Fi­nal-year male stu­dents at the Royal Vet­eri­nary Col­lege in Lon­don used the sheep to hide their mod­esty in one of the cal­en­dar’s pic­tures.

It shows the naked vets ‘tip­ping’ the an­i­mals – a method used to ex­am­ine hooves that is con­sid­ered safe and pain­less. How­ever, the im­age led to ‘ob­scene per­sonal threats’ on so­cial me­dia – and the prin­ci­pal of the Royal Vet­eri­nary Col­lege in Lon­don ini­tially or­dered that the cal­en­dar be scrapped.

Later it was made clear that only the of­fend­ing im­age would be re­moved. The RVC pub­lished an open let­ter declar­ing it had told stu­dents their be­hav­iour was ‘in­ap­pro­pri­ate’.

How­ever, the RVC stu­dents’ union said col­lege bosses had ‘failed [in] their duty of care’ to stu­dents, ‘as their state­ment has given cre­dence to the neg­a­tive re­sponse from a mi­nor­ity group on­line who now feel em­bold­ened to target in­di­vid­ual stu­dents with per­sonal threats’.

Stu­dents also de­scribed how they had suf­fered ‘per­sonal at­tacks and ha­rass­ment ... sim­ply for be­ing as­so­ci­ated with the cal­en­dar’, re­ported the Vet­eri­nary Record, the of­fi­cial jour­nal of the Bri­tish Vet­eri­nary As­so­ci­a­tion.

The Bri­tish Cat­tle Vet­eri­nary As­so­ci­a­tion de­fended the stu­dents, say­ing: ‘In the im­age, the stu­dents are demon­strat­ing a stan­dard han­dling mech­a­nism in an­i­mal hus­bandry. This is widely recog­nised as be­ing safe and pain-free for the an­i­mals. Sin­gling out this im­age … is grossly un­fair.

‘The RVC have a role in sup­port­ing these stu­dents. Such an in­sti­tute should be mak­ing their de­ci­sion on ev­i­dence rather than a small, vo­cal so­cial me­dia thread.’

A col­lege spokesman in­sisted the im­age ‘caused of­fence to some and in­volved un­nec­es­sary han­dling of an­i­mals’.

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