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March 14, 2009
Pound animals used for research
By CHARLES FERNANDEZ
IT IS a general practice for students of Veterinary Sciences to use animals like dogs and cats for research but only after they are humanely put to sleep, Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) deputy director-general (development) Dr Ibrahim Che Embong said.
He was responding to a complaint by a reader that students at the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences of the University Putra Malaysia (UPM) are using live animals supplied by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) for experiments.
However, he said the department had no knowledge of any long-standing arrangement by UPM with the DBKL to supply dogs from their pounds for research.
"We do not have any information on this nor is the faculty required to inform us of such arrangements to use pound animals for their training,’’ said Ibrahim.
He said although DVS opposed the use of abandoned animals from pounds and shelters, he was sure that the UPM had their own reasons to use pound dogs supplied by DBKL as claimed.
He added that when he was a student, he never came across healthy animals being used for research although sometimes mongrels (mangy looking and diseased) that were put to sleep were used for experiments and lab tests.
"Sometimes dead animals are brought in for anatomy and pathology studies for the veterinary students to have hands-on practice.
"The animals are then either buried or incinerated,’’ he added.
Ibrahim said abandoned animals in pounds and shelters already suffering from fear and distress of losing their careers.
He added that if there were objections from the public that their use in research should not be condoned, then such practices should be re-evaluated.