Veterinarians graduate without vivisecting
InterNICHE veterinarians graduate using alternatives
Two InterNICHE National Contacts who have recently graduated in veterinary medicine are calling for the
full replacement of animal experiments in veterinary studies worldwide.
Siri Martinsen successfully completed her degree at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science using
only alternatives to harmful animal use. She is now a veterinarian pushing for better animal welfare
legislation in Norway. Alina Bodnariu helped replace hundreds of animal experiments at the
Veterinary Faculty in Bucharest and elsewhere in Romania, and has now begun further studies with a view
to progressing animal welfare and the use of alternatives in her country.
The Norwegian campaigner for alternatives is the first veterinarian in Norway to graduate
humanely and without the harmful use of animals. She explained why this should now become the
norm rather than the exception: Full replacement through advanced computer software, ethical
dissections and clinical work with animal patients is not only possible but is necessary
for a veterinary education in accordance with animal ethics. Instead of physiology and pharmacology
experiments on animals, I used a combination of computer simulations and self-experimentation.
And dissections of animals that have died from injury or disease rather than of healthy animals
killed just for education could be achieved for whole classes just as it was
achieved for me.
She added: When explaining these alternatives to fellow students,
they felt that the alternatives would have been far better than the animal experiments
which they felt obliged to attend. There was no doubt that combinations of modern learning
tools successfully met the teaching objectives of the practical courses in my degree,
and better prepared me for the veterinary profession. As a conscientious objector I am
relieved to have at last gained my degree, and I believe this shows a willingness from
the School to admit that a veterinary education can in fact be completely free from
harmful animal use.
Facing more difficulties in her studies, Alina Bodnariu is now
struggling to make education for future Romanian veterinarians ethical and animal
friendly: I helped establish a multimedia lab for my faculty, and supported the
production of new physiology software that has replaced the annual use of hundreds
of animal experiments in faculties across the country, many of which involved severe
procedures. But much of the education is far from humane, with many other experiments
still being performed, and horses and other animals being killed for anatomy studies.
Resistance to modernization from "old school" authoritarian teachers, as well as
financial difficulties, are major challenges for Romania. But there is
definitely a growing interest in and movement towards a better quality
In a forthcoming paper in the Journal of Veterinary
Medical Education, InterNICHE Coordinator Nick Jukes and Siri Martinsen
review the development, implementation and advantages of alternatives,
with examples of replacement that have been made by teachers for pedagogical,
economic and ethical reasons.
Commenting on the two veterinarians, Nick
Jukes said today: The commitment they have shown towards their education and
towards animals is an inspiration for all students, and their achievements are an
example for all colleges that still use animals harmfully. InterNICHE encourages
teachers to investigate and implement best- practice tools from the hundreds of
CDs, videos, mannequins and simulators that have been developed by fellow
teachers to enhance knowledge and skills acquisition. Along with ethically
sourced cadavers and greater access to clinical learning opportunities,
these alternatives are true to the ethic of veterinary medicine, which is
rooted in animal care and healing, not the killing and harming of animals
for their instrumental use.
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