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There are situations that are so clearly split between right and wrong that there is no question as to what the ethical decision should be. A classic example is finding a lost wallet containing identification and money. The ethical person returns it to the owner; the unethical person does not.
However, there are the other times in which the right choice isn’t easily made in an ethical dilemma. Sometimes the consequences involved compel an individual to choose one right over another.
At the early December convention of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, dozens of veterinarians gathered in a room for a roundtable discussion of business ethics. The subjective nature of ethics was an important theme throughout this session. The moderators, equine veterinarians Amy Grice and David Ramey, provided attendees with several ethical dilemmas that a vet could encounter.
“Doing the right thing can differ greatly between one person and another,” says Ramey. “From an ethical standpoint, individuals may have their own ethics, but some ethics are just better than others. That isn’t an excuse for some to practice unethically.”
Farriers and vets will find a time when a client asks them to do something that legally or ethically presents a challenge. There are consequences to these decisions, both the ethical and unethical.
The threat of financial harm is a powerful one. An exchange from a panel discussion a few years ago at the International Hoof-Care Summit still stands out to me as one that presents a…