Attitudes to Animal Abuse in Veterinary Practice in Poland

Michał Piotr Pręgowski , Sandra Cieślik


Over the last two decades, animal abuse and neglect, as well as the relationship between animal abuse and domestic violence, have been the subject of numerous academic inquiries. Existing studies on this issue have primarily been conducted in Anglo-Saxon and Western European countries, and little is known about the reality of animal abuse in other countries, including Poland. Our study sheds light on Polish veterinarians’ experiences and perspectives on animal abuse and related topics, including the relationship between animal abuse and domestic violence. The study was designed as an in-depth look into a purposive sample of 19 veterinarians; semi-structured interviews with 11 female and eight male interviewees were conducted in 2017 (March–September). The main results indicate that outright physical abuse of animals is not commonly seen in veterinary offices—predictably, most owners who visit veterinarians treat their animals well; respondents assumed that perpetrators of abuse tend to avoid veterinary help. At the same time, 17 out of 19 interviewees actively linked neglect with abuse and witnessed neglect significantly more often than physical abuse. Upon witnessing outright animal abuse, the respondents said they took action (e.g., calling the police and other authorities, as well as local animal protection agencies). Having a moral obligation was openly mentioned as the motive to do this by a few respondents. The interviewees did not have detailed knowledge of the existing regulations concerning the role of the veterinarian in reporting animal abuse and had only cursory knowledge of “The Link” (i.e., connection between animal abuse and domestic violence). Lastly, the findings of our study indicate there was poor cooperation from law enforcement authorities. Most interviewed veterinarians voiced at least some frustration toward such authorities in relation to their knowledge, attitude and quickness to act. Our research thus shows that animal abuse cases and reports are not handled well by Polish law enforcement, consistent with a 2016 study of judicial application of animal protection law in Poland conducted by two non-governmental organizations: Fundacja Czarna Owca Pana Kota and Stowarzyszenie Ochrony Zwierząt Ekostraż.
Author Michał Piotr Pręgowski (FASS / DASMA)
Michał Piotr Pręgowski,,
- Department of Administration and Security Management in Administration
, Sandra Cieślik
Sandra Cieślik,,
Journal seriesAnthrozoos, ISSN 0892-7936, e-ISSN 1753-0377
Issue year2020
Publication size in sheets0.65
Keywords in Englishanimal abuse, animal neglect, human–animal interaction, judicial application of law, The Link, veterinary practice
ASJC Classification3401 Veterinary (miscalleneous); 1103 Animal Science and Zoology; 3304 Education; 3312 Sociology and Political Science; 3314 Anthropology
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)100
Score sourcejournalList
ScoreMinisterial score = 100.0, 21-05-2020, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 0.915; WoS Impact Factor: 2018 = 1.2 (2) - 2018=1.751 (5)
Citation count*
Share Share

Get link to the record

* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.
Are you sure?