Review: Through A Vet’s Eyes, By Dr Sean Wensley

Gaia | £20.00 | 28th April 2022

Dr Sean Wensley is an award-winning vet and lifelong naturalist who has contributed to animal welfare and conservation projects all over the world. His debut book is about how we can choose a better life for animals, from the chickens we eat to the pets we keep.
As our societies become more urbanised, we are further removed from the reality of where and how our food is produced. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the humanisation of our pets is a risk to their welfare; with 60% of UK dogs being overweight or obese, we are effectively killing them with kindness. Through a Vet’s Eyes seeks to redress this imbalance so that we see all animals as thinking, feeling beings not dissimilar to ourselves.

There is high public and political interest in animal welfare, with current attention focused on high-profile topics such as animal sentience, humane and sustainable global agriculture and breeding pets, such as flat-faced dogs, for looks over health. To fully consider and improve the lives of animals, evidence-based information is needed to help us all understand these issues, what they mean from the animals’ perspectives and what we can all do to help.

A polemic with elements of memoir and nature writing, the book takes us through the years in which Sean trained to become a vet and shares his first-hand experience of how animals are treated and used for our benefit. It interrogates the different levels of welfare afforded to them and reveals
how we, as consumers and informed citizens, can reduce our animal welfare footprint through the choices we make every single day.

My Review

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book and to Anne for organising this tour.

Little known fact, until I was 16 I wanted to be a vet and a writer. I preferred non-humans to humans at the time, since most humans were vile to me. Right now I like non-humans equally to humans, but non-humans are still edging humans out on some days. I’d rather live with dogs than other humans. The reason I didn’t become a vet: my GCSEs weren’t good enough.

This book is a mix of nature writing, which is very poetic and heartfelt. These contrast with the descriptions of farm conditions, abattoir conditions, the lives and ills of horses, and pets. I had some knowledge of these things prior to reading this book but learnt so much more from reading it. I did not know about the Five Freedoms, for example, or the details of how abattoirs kill animals.

The writing is lyrical and descriptive, with a clear call for the improvement in conditions for the lives and deaths of farm animals, horses, and pets. The book is not depressing, but hopeful about the changes that have happened and might still be made if consumers decide to act.


Dr Sean Wensley is an award-winning UK veterinarian and recent President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA). He chairs the Animal Welfare Working Group of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), which
represents veterinary organisations from 40 European countries.

Sean has contributed to animal welfare and conservation projects around the world and in 2017 received the inaugural World Veterinary Association (WVA) Global Animal Welfare Award for Europe. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and is Senior Veterinary Surgeon for
Communication and Education at the national UK veterinary charity, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA).

His media appearances include BBC Radio 4 Today, BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine and The Big Questions.

1 Comment

  1. annecater says:

    Thanks for the blog tour support x

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