University ends some lethal animal labs in veterinary school

By: Staff  Date: 01/12/2012 Category: | Research Reports |

Veterinary students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will no longer use animals in lethal studies of body systems in first-year physiology classes, and the veterinary college will use only purpose-bred dogs for any classes that do require canines.

Students had campaigned for alternatives to the use of animals in the first-year physiology classes, not for an end to all lethal use of animals in their studies. However, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals grabbed the campaign as an action alert on its website, asking people to help students "end cruel animal labs."

According to the Chicago Tribune, veterinary students wanted clear alternatives to the lethal use of animals in first-year classes, but the university had failed to provide a list of acceptable media for learning how animal bodies work. In announcing the end to the use of animals in the first-year class, college spokesman Robin Kaler said that most universities have already eliminated such labs for first-year physiology students, and college dean Ted Valli said that first-year students may not be sufficiently trained in lab protocols in the first few days of veterinary school to use live animals. Kaler also announced an end to the purchase of dogs from USDA licensed dealers who collect the animals from a variety of sources. Instead, the college will use only dogs purposely bred for research to avoid the possibility that purchased dogs might be stolen pets.

Ghanaians reject American research, zoo chimps Friends of Animals would like the nation of Ghana to provide sanctuary for chimpanzees retired from US research programs, circuses, and zoos, and surrendered from private homes, but some Ghanaian citizens are objecting to the proposal.

Dr. Kofi Elison, a Ghanaian living in Washington DC, said that FoA claims that the chimps will bring tourists to the area are false and that the organization is contemptible of the citizens of his native country by refusing to provide background information on the lab animals they want to release. Elison said that people will be afraid to visit a sanctuary for chimps that may have been exposed to or infected with disease during their laboratory stays and that euthanasia is the most sensible course of action for these animals.

"Now comes FoA with a bright idea," Elison wrote to the Ghanaian Chronicle. "What about sending them to Africa? The people are poor, ignorant, gullible, prone to accepting any received idea willy-nilly. And their politicians are so corrupt, you can buy their support or silence with one dollar." Elison said that the plan has been supported by some officials and was nearly implemented without public knowledge until discussion on the Internet. Speculating that FoA planned the chimp sanctuary as "the tip of the iceberg plan by Priscilla Feral and FoA to ship all manner of animals to Ghana," and charging that FoA has ignored requests for health histories on the chimps, he urged Ghana's president to investigate "this whole disgraceful episode" and "reject this Trojan horse gift outright."

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