Animals, like children and disabled elders, are not only the subjects of abuse, but they are unable to report and protect themselves from it. Veterinarians, like human physicians, are often the ones to become aware of the abuse and the only ones in a position to report it when their human clients are unwilling to do so. This creates a conflict between professional confidentiality to the client and the duty to protect the victim and facilitate prosecution when the law has been broken. I accordingly recommend that veterinarian associations make reporting of abuse mandatory.
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