Current Nonhuman Rescue Ops Campaign

University Of Queensland is currently using baby pigs and greyhounds in terminal surgeries to teach veterinary students. Do human doctors learn medicine by killing their patients? No, then why KILL when humane teaching methods are readily available?

Animals are sentient beings that have an interest in their lives not to be used or exploited. Like us, animals seek pleasure and avoid pain. Both have the same desire to live and the same capacity to suffer or enjoy life. Pigs are the third most intelligent animal on earth and greyhounds deserve a home and a happy life just like other dogs.

NHMRC Guidelines

The Code outlines key principles for promoting the wellbeing of animals and the quality of scientific outcomes. The principles of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement (known as the 3Rs) aim to reduce the impact of scientific activities on animal wellbeing (Russell and Burch 1959) and are pivotal to achieving the goals of the Code. Underlying these key principles is strong scientific evidence that animals experience pain and distress in a manner similar to humans; decisions regarding an animal’s wellbeing must be based on this premise. The 3Rs are defined as follows:

  • Replacement — If a viable alternative method exists that would partly or wholly replace the use of animals in a project, the Code requires investigators to use that alternative. Examples of alternative methods include in vitro techniques and computer models.
  • Reduction — A project must be designed to use no more than the minimum number of animals necessary to ensure scientific and statistical validity. However, the principle of reducing the number of animals used should not be implemented at the expense of greater pain and distress for individual animals.
  • Refinement — Studies must be designed to avoid or minimise both pain and distress in animals, consistent with the scientific objective. Investigators must also be competent in the procedures they perform. Project design must take into account
    – the choice of animals, their housing, management and care and their acclimatisation
    – the choice of techniques and procedures
    – the appropriate use of sedatives, tranquillisers, analgesics and anaesthetics
    – the choice of appropriate measures for assessing pain and distress
    – the establishment of early intervention points and humane endpoints
    – adequate monitoring of the animals
    – appropriate use of pilot studies.

Other key principles in addition to the 3Rs include Justification and Responsibility:

  • Justification — The Code requires projects using animals to be performed only after they are justified, weighing the predicted scientific or educational value of the project against the potential effects on the wellbeing of the animals. Thus, the justification must take into account all aspects of the project that may have an adverse impact on the animals.
  • Responsibility — The Code states that investigators who use animals for scientific purposes have personal responsibility for all matters relating to the wellbeing of the animals. They have an obligation to treat the animals with respect and to consider their wellbeing as an essential factor when planning or conducting projects. To meet these responsibilities, it is essential that investigators are knowledgeable about all factors associated with the project that may affect the wellbeing of the animals they use, mechanisms to minimise these effects, the monitoring and assessment of adverse effects on animal wellbeing, and appropriate actions to take if adverse effects are observed.

Australian Code For The Care & Use Of Animals For Scientific Purposes

Non Harmful Alternatives

The fact that veterinary schools in the UK, United States and Canada are able to produce well-qualified veterinarians without relying on terminal surgery labs demonstrates that they are able to achieve the same outcome by more humane means.

Many non-harmful alternatives now exist: computer simulations, preserved specimens, high-quality videos, models and surgical simulators, plastinated organs/animals, and clinical supervision.

Studies comparing surgical abilities of graduates from Tufts University veterinary class of 1990, in which one-third of the students used alternatives. These students were rated for surgical competence by their employers at the time of their hiring and again 12 months later, and no differences were found for any measures, including the ability to perform common surgical, medical, diagnostic procedures, and attitudes toward orthopedic or soft-tissue surgery, confidence and ability in performing procedures (Balcombe, 2000)

Questionable practice at UQ: Given countless numbers of veterinarians have been taught vet science through humane teaching methods the evidence suggests that alternative medical and surgery practical’s can give equivalent outcomes (Knight, 2007)

Statements/Quotes

RSPCA Qld "is opposed to providing dogs for non-recovery surgery or for any form of research. (We do allow final year vet students to desex our rehomeable dogs under supervision and they are returned to us for rehoming.) RSPCA encourages the use of alternative teaching methods (replacement) and reduction of numbers (Reduction) by ensuring students do initial practice on cadavers or simulated animals. We also support methods to ensure animals don't suffer throughout any process (Refinement)."

Dr Lisa Elsner; Veterinarian "I obtained my veterinary degree without killing any patients in the process - upon graduation I had performed many more desexings than anyone in my year and had the confidence to perform surgeries unsupervised. I learnt by performing the most common surgery a new graduate will perform, desexings of cats and dogs, whilst initially under the supervision of an experienced veterinarian and then on my own - this was done both at welfare shelters and private practices. This not only gave me superior learning to my peers but I also gained an enormous amount of post-surgical experience including monitoring of patients as they woke up and recovered. Qualified vets do not kill their patients after they operate on them so why should vet students be taught this way? Vet students who still take part in terminal surgeries are being denied a full education that is they are not gaining any post surgical care of their patients as well as being taught that it’s ok to use dogs and then dispose of them. It's only a matter of time before all vet schools will have to change their outdated ways and eliminate terminal surgeries and start teaching students to respect life and giving them that all important post surgical experience which is just as important as the surgery."

Anonymous Vet Student "I think the practice of using homeless animals (greyhounds) as surgery subjects and then putting them down is appalling. It was the reason I left vet school at UQ. I arrived at this perspective because when I had to do the surgery pracs I would cry just about every single time knowing the dog lying in front of me was never going to wake up again. For someone who went into vet school because they love animals, this was an impossible thing to have to endure. Yes, there are healthy homeless pets used at UQ. Looking at their sad, scared little faces used to make me physically ill. They could sense what was going to happen to them. It was really really sad. I hated it. The University of Queensland should not be using homeless companion animals in experiments; indeed, we should not be using any animals in any experiments or testing."

Email These Contacts to Help End This Inhumane Practice Now

Click here to download Template Letter

The QLD Premier Campbell Newman The.Premier@premiers.qld.gov.au

QLD Leader of the Opposition Annastacia Palaszczuk MP reception@opposition.qld.gov.au

John McVeigh MP Minister for Agriculture toowoomba.south@parliament.qld.gov.au daff@ministerial.qld.gov.au

Glen Coleman Head of Vet School University of QLD hosvetsci@uq.edu.au

To contact Nonhuman Rescue Ops Inc. please email livekind@nonhumanrescue.org

LINKS

Dr Andrew Knight Publication - The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments

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