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. Surveys suggest that nearly 1 in 4 UK adults don't know that bacon comes from pigs. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the humanisation of our pets is a risk to their welfare; with over 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.
As he takes us through the years in which he trained to become a vet, and set against a backdrop of inspiring natural spectacles, Dr Wensley shares his first-hand experience of how animals are treated and used for our benefit. He interrogates the different levels of welfare afforded to them and reveals how we the general consumer can reduce our animal welfare footprint through the choices we make every day.
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. Dr Wensley 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.
"An enlightening guide to how scientists get inside the minds of other animals"
– Henry Mance, Financial Times
"A compelling account of the trials, tribulations and triumphs of life as a vet – and a lesson to us all on how we should treat the animals with which we share our lives."
– Stephen Moss, naturalist and author of The Robin: A Biography
"Over the years as a vet, I have experienced many of the same situations, challenges and feelings that Sean reflects on in this incredible book. He helps us see things from the animals' perspectives, which is one of the key skills that every vet has to learn. We must, as individuals and as societies, be responsible for the part we each play in the lives of animals, whether they be used for food, sport, as our pets or for our enjoyment in nature. I strongly encourage you to read this book – I believe it helps us to understand the interwoven challenges we face as we navigate an uncertain future and equips us with the tools necessary to make a difference. I'm already telling everyone I know to read it!"
– Dr Justine Shotton, President, British Veterinary Association
"[Through a Vet's Eyes] is comprehensive yet concise, sensitive without being sentimental and idealistic without being overly ideological. I loved it."
– Josh Loeb, Vet Record
"Fascinating, engaging, urgent and important. Wensley is the ideal guide to the mysteries of the animal mind. If this doesn't revolutionize your view of the food on your plate and the whine of your dog, nothing will."
– Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast and Being a Human
"Through a Vet's Eyes provides a fascinating insight into the lives of different animals: those that live in the wild, are farmed for human consumption and the ones we choose to live with in our homes as domestic pets. The welfare and experiences of the animals who share this planet with humans in their different ways is told humanely with genuine compassion that drives home the responsibility we all share to think about the impact that we have in the way we live our lives."
– Dr Elaine Mulcahy, Director, UK Health Alliance on Climate Change
"Beguiling and devastating, this book explores how to play with a fox and recognise kinship with animals, even as it calmly and kindly reveals the truth of how animals are treated before they are made into food. If you love animals, read this book."
– Jay Griffiths, author of Wild: An Elemental Journey
"Through a Vet's Eyes is a sensitive and intimate chronicle charting one man's journey through the wonders of the animal and natural world. By blending keen observation and scientific enquiry with an enduring passion for nature, Dr Sean Wensley provides a hugely insightful commentary into our relationship with animals and the wider living environments we co-habit. An excellent read for anyone with an interest in the collective responsibility we all have to ensure the welfare of the animal world and the sustainability and wellbeing of our ecosystems."
– Dr Osman A. Dar, One Health Project Director, Royal Institute of International Affairs, and Working Group Co-chair, One Health High Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP), and Consultant in Global Health, Global Operations, UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)
"Framed around a compelling and very personal journey, this book is packed with decades of insight. Each chapter dances naturally between nature-writing and first-person tales of animals in our care. I loved the storytelling prose, the binocular-clad explorations of a fellow naturalist and the quirky pairings of animals wild and domesticated. All delivered in a tone that is measured yet passionate. And what I really liked is that it's told by a vet, offering the reader fresh perspectives through the eyes of animals."
– Philip Lymbery, CEO, Compassion in World Farming and author of Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat
"In this book, Sean Wensley explores some of the ways our human lives are intrinsically linked to those of animals and how a better understanding of these relationships can benefit both. I commend it to anyone who would like to know more about this fascinating subject."
– Dr David Danson, President, Comparative Medicine Section, The Royal Society of Medicine
"A landmark book"
– Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado, author of The Animals' Agenda
"A very good read [...] I learned a lot. This book should make all of us think more deeply about those animals that are kept for our benefit."
– Mark Avery, environmental campaigner and author of Remarkable Birds
"This inspiring, compassionate memoir offers informed and practical insights into how to reduce our animal welfare footprint [...] A thoroughly enlightening read."
"'This deeply thoughtful and insightful book speaks to the heart of our responsibility to animals. Sean Wensley takes off the blinkers, strips away anthropomorphism, and asks us to focus on the species-specific needs of a range of creatures that we may choose to eat, keep as pets, or use in sport or leisure. Utterly humane, evidence-based, and beautifully argued, this book should be read by everyone whose life intersects with those of animals."
– Roly Owers MRCVS, CEO, World Horse Welfare