Background: Although visiting an abattoir is mandatory for all UK veterinary students, this was challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic and virtual simulators were temporarily approved by the RCVS. Subsequently, the Virtual Slaughterhouse Simulator (VSS) was used by The School of Veterinary Medicine Science of Nottingham, The University of Liverpool School of Veterinary Science and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies of Edinburgh. This study aimed to evaluate the students’ learning experience using the VSS.

Methods: An online survey containing satisfaction and assessment questions was distributed to all final year students after using the VSS from September 2020 to August 2021.

Results: A total of 207 students completed the survey (n=207/488, 42%). Students were mostly highly satisfied and found the VSS useful for their learning (n=164/207,79%), anxiety levels to visit a real abattoir lowered for less than half of the students (n=97/207, 46%). Most students obtained an overall mark over 50% in the assessment questions (n=197/207, 95%).

Limitations: Although very positive, extrapolation of results to other vet schools and postgraduate curriculum should be done cautiously.

Conclusion: The VSS is a valid tool for training veterinary students. More research is advised to compare virtual to real experiences and assess long-term performance.


This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Cite as

Garcia-Ara, A., Sandoval Barron, E. & Seguino, A. 2023, 'A survey of students' learning experience using a Virtual Slaughterhouse Simulator in three UK Veterinary Schools during COVID-19', Veterinary Record, article no: e3307. https://doi.org/10.1002/vetr.3307

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Last updated: 01 September 2023
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