The Courier Mail; Hannah Davies; Jan 4, 2011
QUEENSLAND veterinary students will soon be banned from carrying out “inhumane” terminal operations on live dogs, following public outcry over the procedures.
As reported in The Courier-Mail, about 300 healthy dogs are anaesthetised, operated on and then euthanised every year to further the education of students at the University of Queensland.
An agreement was in place between the university and Logan City Council to transfer dogs from the pound until 2013.
Six days after The Courier-Mail revealed the practice, the government’s Animal Welfare Advisory Committee ordered it be stopped. Yesterday, RSPCA Queensland applauded the decision, branding it overdue.
“We believe there are other more humane teaching methods that can be used,” said chief executive Mark Townend. “This is the way things have been overseas for a long time and it is time for Queensland to change.”
UQ is the only university in Australia still carrying out these operations, with the practice banned in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth in favour of teaching methods used in the UK – computer simulations, ethically sourced cadavers, models and surgical simulators.
Yesterday, an email leaked to The Courier-Mail revealed UQ’s head of veterinary science, Professor Jon Hill, informed staff of the Government’s decision on December 23, saying it had “wide implications”.
“The use of animals for terminal procedures as part of the teaching of veterinary students will be banned in the near future,” the email states.
It outlines a “period of adjustment will be allowed to enable alternate arrangements and to avoid compromising learning objectives for veterinary students. The period is not defined but should be as soon as practicable.”
Logan City Council’s animal committee chairman Cr Graham Able said the decision to ban terminal surgeries was “a knee-jerk reaction”.
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