The National Council for Experimentation on Animal Subjects is slated
to decide today whether to continue to allow the use of animals in
experiments for educational purposes. While in Europe and the U.S. the
use of animals in instructional experiments has declined significantly
in recent years, in Israel thousands of animals are operated on and
put to death every year as part of medical and life sciences studies.
The experiments are carried out largely in order to illustrate
principles that are already known.
Opponents argue that there is no longer any need to use animal
experimentation in the teaching process. "In light of the advanced
illustrative means existing today, there is no justification for
conducting experiments on animals" for educational purposes, says
attorney Ehud Peleg, legal adviser to Noach, the umbrella organization
of animal rights groups in Israel and the organization's
representative to the council.
This position has the backing of several experts, including Israeli
scientists, some of them members of the council. The council itself,
however, refuses to rule that there are reasonable alternatives to all
such experiments, which would force all institutions of higher
education in the country to switch to these alternatives.