We agree with the comments of Dr Van Bladel and Dr Balogh, formulated in connection with the draft document regarding “Ethical Foundations of the System of Radiological Protection”. To our disappointment, we could not find any ethical reflection on radioprotection of the individual veterinary “patient”. Only protection of (humans and) the ecosystem/environment is referred to, which is general and does not apply to the individual animal as patient.
The modalities available in the veterinary world for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes for animal use, based on radiation, is following closely the use in human medicine. This not only comprises the use of classical radiography, but also includes CT, radiotherapy and nuclear medicine. There is a growing responsible attitude of the community regarding animal welfare and animals are now considered part of the family. In this regard, they deserve the label “patients” and not non-individualized, even lifeless things. Consequently, it would be more appropriate not only to consider human and environment protection and care (habitats, communities and ecosystems and conservation of species) but also that of veterinary “patients”. We feel therefore that ethical concerns should not be limited to radioprotection of the environment and humans but that the animal should be included as well. It would be a great opportunity to introduce the concept of the individual animal as “patient” in an important paper such as the current document.
The Radioprotection Committee of the European College of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging
Kathelijne Peremans (chair)