Let’s talk about cyberbullying in the veterinary field

Cyber-bullying has been justified as a massive way of seeking acceptance of a point of view without measuring the consequences and damage it can cause. Unfortunately, Veterinary Doctors working in different subjects are not immune to these attacks, affecting those that work at private clinics, big hospitals, zoos and even those that work or volunteer in animal shelters.

Due to the power of social networks being a high-reach medium, there is a growing tendency for these attacks. These can be carried out by pet owners, activists, colleagues, and employees by using different means such as angry comments and posts in Facebook or bad reviews in Google. In general, they tell or publish a version of the facts that hides relevant information and affects the reputation of the veterinarian. The social pressure is so high that it gets difficult for the veterinarian to give his/her version, because she/he is usually judged by people from the other side of the screen who do not even know his service and clinic. These judgments and opinions are influenced by the defamation of the person that started the attack, sometimes even turning into life-threatening, psychological, or physical attacks.

It is a problem that affects veterinarians all around the globe. That is why we created the campaign “put yourself in my place #nomorehateMORELOVE” on our Facebook page called “Tips from vets”. The video was made with colleagues from Colombia who are in different parts of the world, some of them victims of cyberbullying. We also counted with contributions from great influencers and recognized veterinarians in Latin America including “Juancho the student vet”, “Nico Silva” and ” doctor Villa”.

Join the campaign “Put yourself in my place, #nomorehateMORELOVE”

With this video we want to create awareness and show that cyberbullying affects all vets. Even if one charges for a clinical service or volunteer for rescuing animals in vulnerable conditions, all have been targeted by these attacks. Which come as a consequence of making difficult decisions of a case or for having misunderstandings with the owners in different aspects. For instance, an owner led by the belief that all diseases have a cure, suggest treatments that can affect the well-being of the animal, prolonging the suffering in the face of a terminal illness or aggressive behavior that cannot be rehabilitated. Other misunderstandings can be caused by the costs of the clinical services, diagnosis and medicines that can be as costly as those for humans, and this is not generally known by owners or people that rescue animals. Not to put aside those cases where there is actually a bad practice, and instead of reporting the case to the corresponding regulatory or legal entity that regulates veterinary practice, it is diffused via social media causing cyberbullying.

We want people who carry out cyberbullying attacks on social media to put themselves in our place and understand that our work is not easy. That we have to handle many emotions on a daily basis such as stress, compassion fatigue, depression and tiredness. For this reason, we invite all veterinary doctors and veterinary medicine students to join the campaign “put yourself in my place, #nomorehateMORELOVE” and share their experiences to show the positive side of their work, even if they have been victims of cyberbullying.

Written by: Jenny García
Veterinary Surgeon
La Salle University
Master Student of Small Animal Clinic at the Autonomous University of Barcelona
Content editor of Tips From Vets