Veterinary Humanities UK is a network to foster connections and encourage discussion among people who share an interest in the veterinary world and an appreciation of the insights that humanities and social sciences can provide.
What we do
Veterinary Humanities UK began when the co-convenors, Alison and Carol, connected online in the summer of 2020, discovering a shared belief that the humanities (disciplines such as ethics, history, anthropology, law, art, etc, plus social sciences) offer powerful ways to approach the problems and challenges that affect the veterinary sector.
Since our launch event in January 2021, our network has grown to include well over a hundred veterinary professionals and allies. We range from GP practitioners to academics, with representation from all career stages and fields of veterinary activity, and also welcome humanities and social science scholars interested in the veterinary world.
We run a regular programme of online networking events and occasional themed workshops on various aspects of veterinary endeavour. We aim to create new ways to share insight from the humanities with the wider veterinary community, and to create new opportunities for communication, outreach and growth for our network members.
Dr Alison Skipper
Alison combines work as a small animal vet in general practice with a variety of roles in the research and management of breed-related disease in pedigree dogs.
"I've recently finished a PhD in history, funded by the Wellcome Trust, which explores how approaches to breed-related disease have changed from 1890 to the present day. You can see some of my work here.
"Through my PhD journey, I came to appreciate the value of humanities training in understanding veterinary issues, and was inspired to co-found VetHumUK. I'm particularly interested in understanding how different communities approach and negotiate controversial matters in animal welfare, believing that we can best achieve change by effective communication that builds bridges between stakeholders. Outside of work, I spend most of my time dealing with my own animals and family."
Dr Carol Gray
Carol is Principal Lecturer in Veterinary Nursing at Hartpury University.
"Originally a practising veterinary surgeon in small animal and charity practice, I spent many years in veterinary education at the University of Liverpool School of Veterinary Science as a Lecturer in Veterinary Professional Skills. After completing a PhD in Law at the University of Birmingham (exploring informed consent to elective neutering in companion animals), I returned to Liverpool to undertake a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the School of Law and Social Justice (investigating how consent and shared decision-making might combine in veterinary consultations), before moving to Hartpury in September 2021.
"My current areas of research interest are informed consent and decision-making for veterinary patients, euthanasia and end-of-life care and providing support for difficult decision-making in practice. Outside the academic environment, I am a keen horseracing fan and always have at least one greyhound in my life."