Animal rights group discusses MSU's practices
Published: 11/11 11:43pm
A national organization is calling on MSU officials to
consider alternatives to how the university teaches its veterinary students.
Representatives from Animalearn, a division of the nonprofit animal
advocacy and educational organization American Anti-Vivisection Society,
questioned MSU's past practices of purchasing live animals from Class B
animal dealers at a lecture Wednesday, but said the university is making
progress. Students Promoting Animal Rights, or SPAR, hosted the event.
The group released a report in April detailing its analysis of public
universities in 24 selected states based on information it received from the
U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Institutional Animal Care and Use
A Class A animal dealer breeds animals, such as dogs, for a
specific purpose. A Class B dealer can acquire animals from a variety
sources, such as animal shelters or pounds, and sell them for educational
purposes, Animalearn Director Laura Ducceschi said.
'A positive trend at
MSU is that its purchases from Class B dealers appears to have ceased after
2006,' Ducceschi said.
College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Christopher
Brown said officials have not purchased animals from a Class B dealer in
about three years.
Students are offered alternatives to live surgeries
and as technology improves, he believes MSU will be able to continue reducing
the number of live dogs it purchases for educational purposes. Brown said he
does not know the number of live dogs used in the college this year.
'For surgery and other related classes, we do offer an alternative for
students who do not want to take part in the live classes and that involves
taking some extra time in the clinic to gain those skills in the clinic which
they would have picked up in the laboratory had they taken the classes,'
Brown said. 'In the last 20 years, we have gradually reduced the number of
live animals used and adopted new technology.'
The lecture represented
SPAR's attempt to ask university officials to consider alternatives to the
use of live animals for educational purposes, SPAR President Mitch Goldsmith
'We wanted to have the folks report their report and make that call
one more time to the university to take these alternatives seriously,'
'We (were) hoping to sort of educate people in the
community about the practices of the university in regards to the use of
animals on campus and to hopefully get this topic the attention that it
Students in the College of Veterinary Medicine use a majority
of the animals in terminal surgeries ' surgeries where the animal is not
revived after anesthesia ' Brown said.
'Many of the animals would have
been scheduled to be euthanized had they not come here,' Brown said. 'The
animals are not recovered from euthanasia (after the procedures are
Arts and humanities junior Megan Spencer said although she is
not a veterinary medicine student, she is concerned about the welfare of
animals and universities' dependence on live animals for teaching tools.
'I think the issue of animal rights, especially in this context, is really
important and gets overlooked a lot,' Spencer said. 'The arguments against
(using live animals in education) need to get more well known.'
Nicholas Barbu, a second-year veterinary medicine student, said he came to
Wednesday's event to voice his concern about the use of alternatives in the
'I feel like with using alternatives, you miss out on a lot of
important clinical skills you will not get otherwise,' Barbu said.