Department: Production and Population Health

Campus: Hawkshead

Research Centres: RVC Animal Welfare Science and Ethics

Martin is the Lecturer in Veterinary Ethics and Law at the RVC and his PhD in the concept of justice within the veterinary profession is nearing completion.  He is also interested in the ways in which vets and veterinary nurses behave in practice including elements of the ethics of EBVM and informed consent. He teaches veterinary students, nurses and post-graduates in veterinary ethics.

He is also involved in the VeNom Coding Group and work on the electronic patient record (CRIS) within the RVC.

Martin qualified as a veterinary surgeon from the RVC in 2006. He had previously intercalated in Philosophy and Ethics at King's College London in 2003. He also has a Masters in Medical Ethics and Law from King's College London.

Following an internship at Dick White Referrals and time working as a locum in a variety in small animal practices, Martin returned to the RVC to develop teaching materials for the undergraduate students, to develop alumni relations and to assist in the development of the RVC’s clinical records system (CRIS). Martin also undertook a significant research project on the welfare of companion dogs.

In 2009, Martin developed a new curriculum to teach ethics to the veterinary undergraduates, increasing their previous instruction by 27 hours. Whilst leading ethics teaching on this programme Martin has continued to develop the course for delivery to nurses and MVetMed students. Martin's PhD on the concept of justice within the veterinary profession is nearing completion. His long term plan is to develop a strong academic discipline in veterinary ethics.  He is also promotes his work through the VetEthics twitter account @VetEthics and his own @mwhiting81 .

Martin defines veterinary ethics as combining veterinary professional and animal ethics and can be interpreted as a critical reflection on the provision of veterinary services in support of the profession's responsibilities to animal kind and mankind.  

Martin is also a member of the management and scientific committees of The VeNom Coding group. This multidiscipline and multi-institution team has developed and maintains standardised terminology for the veterinary profession to great increase our abilities for epidemiological research.

Martin's primary research interests are in veterinary ethics (specifically that of justice of animal use and those questions relating to how vets relate to animal owners). His other interest relates to the standardised coding of veterinary terminology, through his work in the VeNom Coding Group.

Martin's previous project was concerned with canine welfare in Britain, specifically that of companion dogs. He completed a comprehensive information review highlighting the major factors that affect the welfare of companion dogs in Britain today.

Martin also sits on the RCVS VN Legislation Working Party, formulating advice to the RCVS, and ultimately DEFRA, on the formation of statute protection of the title of veterinary nurse.

Whiting, M. (2013) Vaccinations and the Animal Welfare Act. In Practice 35:102-103.

Buckland, E.L., Whiting, M. C., Abeyesinghe, S. M., Asher, L., Corr, S., Wathes, C. M. (In Press 2012) A survey of stakeholders' opinions on the priority issues affecting the welfare of companion dogs in Great Britain. Animal Welfare (In Press)

Whiting M,. (2012) Legal and ethical considerations when undertaking veterinary nurse research.  The Veterinary Nurse 3(7): p394-400.

de Miguel Garcia C., Whiting M., Alibhai, H. (2012) Cerebral hypoxia in a cat following pharyngoscopy involving use of a mouth gag.  Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia. 40:1 p106-8.  doi: 10.1111/j.1467-2995.2012.00771.x.

Whiting M. (2012) Everyday Ethics: homeopathic vaccine.  In Practice. 34(7): 430-431

Asher L., Buckland E.L., Phylactopoulos C.I., Whiting M.C., Abeyesinghe S.M. and Wathes C.M. (2011) Estimation of the number and demographics of companion dogs in the UK.  BMC Veterinary Research 7:74

Wright A.J., Whiting M. and Taylor A. (2009) Letter to the Editor on the surgical castration of piglets. Animal 3, 1474–1475.

Foale R. D., Whiting M. & Wray J. D. (2006) Myositis and pharyngeal dysphagia in Hungarian vizslas. Proceedings of the 50th BSAVA Congress. Birmingham, April 3 to 6, 2008. Clinical research abstract.


Books, Reviews and Book Chapters

Book Review: Can Animals be Moral? Rowlands, M. OUP, 2012.  In: Whiting, M 2013. Animal Welfare 22:4 pp496-497.

Veterinary and Animal Ethics (2012). Eds. Wathes CM, Corr SA, May SA, McCulloch SP, Whiting M. London: Wiley-Blackwell.  Available.

Whiting M (2012) Justice of Animal Use in the Veterinary Profession. In Veterinary and Animal Ethics. Eds. Wathes CM, Corr SA, May SA, McCulloch SP, Whiting M. London: Wiley-Blackwell


Conference Presentations and Newsletters

Whiting, M (2014) "Pet's as participants in research projects." Australian Veterinary Association Conference, Perth Australia, May

Whiting, M (2014) "Teaching veterinary ethics and law." Australian Veterinary Association Conference, Perth Australia, May

Whiting, M (2014) "What is informed consent?" Australian Veterinary Association Conference, Perth Australia, May

Whiting, M (2014) "Businesses and my clinical freedom." Australian Veterinary Association Conference, Perth Australia, May

Whiting, M (2014) "Clinical audit and governance." Australian Veterinary Association Conference, Perth Australia, May

Whiting, M (2014) "The conflict between ethical and economic veterinary conduct." Australian Veterinary Association Conference, Perth Australia, May

Whiting, M (2013) "Challenges in Teaching Professional Studies." LIVE Newsletter. March p13-17. Available online:

Whiting, M (2013) "New Veterinary institutions, a discussion of the implications." AVS Conference, RVC London February.

Whiting M. (2012) "What should the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons viewpoint be on Religious slaughter?" Association of Veterinary Students, London.

Whiting M. (2011) "The justice of animal use." International Conference of Veterinary and Animal Ethics. London.

Whiting M. (2011) "The Justice of the Sociozoological scale."  Mancept Political Theory Workshop, University of Manchester.

May S. & Whiting M. (2010) "Workshop: Professionalism and Ethics Skills." LIVE Educational Symposium 2010, London.

Whiting, M. (2010) “If we are not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?” – EcoHealth Initiative. London International Development Centre, June 2010

Whiting M. (2009) "A pig is a dog is a rat is a boy."  BVNA Congress. Kettering, October 9-11.

Whiting, M. (2009) “Pushing the Frontiers of Medicine – an Ethical Perspective” BVNA Congress. Kettering, October 9-11.


Martin is responsible for teaching ethics and law to the BVetMed students ethics in their first, third and fourth years and ethics, law, professionalism and animal welfare the PGDip Nurses.

Martin is also on the University of London exam board for the distance learning masters courses running at the RVC.

Martin visits secondary schools in and around London to talk about the Ethics of Animal Use within science and by the wider population.  This is done by placing it in context of all forms of animal use including pets and farm animals to help the students understand the greater issues.


  • Veterinary Ethics and Law

    People: Martin Whiting

    There are multiple projects currently running on veterinary ethics and law.  These include topics of client informed consent, the law and professional conduct related to clinical research, reviews of RCVS Disciplinary Hearings, ethical requirements for publications, the laws of religious slaughter and the social contractual empowerment of the veterinary profession.

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