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All posts for the month October, 2011

The University of Florida tortures tens of thousands of animals to death in their labs, resists transparency at every level, and, by refusing to disclose public records about their prisoners, they currently stand in contempt of Florida state law from which they seem to believe they are exempt. In contrast, we see a growing trend around the world — everywhere but in the blood-money capitalist US — to make sweeping strides toward ending vivisection. Canada has just ended this obscene practice in its medical schools. Vivisection will end here when the detriments of sadism outweigh the benefits…

by Tom Blackwell (National Post)

Another two Canadian universities have agreed to stop using live animals in trauma-medicine training courses, marking the end of the practice completely in this country, according to the doctor-led animal-rights group that has lobbied for the controversial change.

Doctors and other trauma trainees at Quebec’s University of Sherbrooke and Sacré Coeur hospital in Montreal have begun practising on human-like, computerized simulators instead of pigs or dogs.

It means none of the 22 Canadian universities and hospitals that offer the Advanced Trauma Life Support program uses animals any longer, said Dr. John Pippin, a spokesman for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C. Last year, the use of animals in medical-school training also came to a close in Canada, he said.

“We’re confident that now Canada, bless them, is leading the way,” said Dr. Pippin.

The committee advocates vegetarian or vegan diets, more ethical human research and an end to the use of animals in medical study and education. Though it has some ties with the controversial People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the group tends to couch its arguments in terms of good health and science, rather than simply what is good for animals.

The changes to the trauma courses have been controversial, though. McMaster University in Hamilton made the switch last year, complaining that many of the students felt the simulators were a lesser option, and that the new policy came only after “threats” from the American organization.

The university’s veterinarian also noted that the conditions under which pigs had been treated – including being anesthetized while trainees operated on them and killed before regaining consciousness – were far more humane that those of hogs slaughtered for meat.

The University of Sherbrooke did come under pressure from the committee to abandon use of animals in training, but ultimately made the decision as part of a broader move to employing simulators, said Dr. Pierre Cossette, dean of Sherbrooke’s medical school.

“It’s the best way, educationally speaking, to do that type of teaching and learning,” he said. “For us, it was a no-brainer … The fact it helped save some animals was a good thing on top of that.”

Not only do the simulators – sophisticated dummies connected to a computer – mimic human anatomy, but they provide electronic feedback to trainees on the impact of their work, Dr. Cossette said.

A handful of studies that surveyed small numbers of trainees have suggested that simulators are at least a good alternative to live animals. A U.S. Air Force study published this year, though, found a slight advantage for medical trainees who had learned two emergency procedures on pigs, rather than simulators.

The committee is setting its sights on a goal that is exponentially more controversial: ending use of animals in medical research entirely. But Dr. Cossette, the Sherbrooke dean, rejected the idea, saying medical advances are simply not possible without animals.

“We cannot do magical thinking about this,” he said.

 

“E6993” – Victim of UF Animal Torture Student

Posted by Advocate for Saving Dogs

Every year, millions of animals in need of sanctuary enter animal shelters across the country. While many are lucky enough to find new homes, hundreds become victims of pound seizure, as they are purchased by class B dealers who then sell the animals at an enormous profit to research and education facilities, where they are used in invasive and oftentimes painful experimental procedures.

Such was the case with Cruella, a shepherd cross who was found in Carson City, Michigan, wearing a purple collar and chain, indicating that she was once someone’s companion animal. Considered a stray at the time, Cruella was housed in pen 20 at Montcalm County Animal Control until she was relinquished to R&R Research, a class B animal dealer, and became known simply as E6993. She remained at R&R for 6 months, likely spending most of her time alone, confined in a cage with limited human companionship.

Later, traveling well over 1,000 miles with 13 other dogs, E6993 was sold to the University of Florida, where veterinary students named her Cruella. While there, over a period of 7 months, she was sedated or anesetized 7 times, often for hours at a time, and used in medical training procedures, including endoscopy, abdominal surgery, and ultrasound exercises, by both veterinary students and veterinarians. Cruella also underwent surgery with the intention to spay her, but it was discovered, after her abdominal cavity was opened, that she was already spayed, further pointing to the fact that she was once someone’s pet. During her last month at the University, Cruella twice experienced a lack of appetite; however, reportedly, she would eat handfuls of canned food. Whether this was the result of kennel stress after months of isolation and exploitation or the physical toll of enduring multiple sedations and veterinary procedures is unknown, but it is certainly likely.

On July 23, 2008, 195 days after her arrival at the University of Florida and over a year after she was found in Michigan, Cruella was killed via lethal injection.

by Nathan Crabbe (Gainesville Sun)

An animal rights activist has sued the University of Florida for denying a public records request for information on research involving primates.

Camille Marino, a Wildwood-based activist with the group Negotiation is Over, sued the university last week in an Alachua County circuit court. She made a request last fall for records on 33 non-human primates mentioned in a federal inspection report of UF research facilities.

She was asked to pay $566.54 for the records, but UF later provided just one redacted purchasing report for six primates and refunded the money.

“We need to know what’s going on inside their labs. They’re not exempt from the law … What are they hiding?” Marino said.

A copy of the lawsuit, posted on the Negotiation is Over website, can be found here.

In a letter to Marino, UF said purchasing reports more than five years old are destroyed under state regulation and cited a state law protecting the confidentiality of veterinary patient records in denying the request for other records. The lawsuit, filed by Gainesville attorney Marcy LeHart, argues that the primates are not UF patients and “any procedures performed on them are certainly not for the benefit of the primates.”

UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said the university received a courtesy copy of the lawsuit had yet been served, and would respond appropriately when it was.

“We take the safety of our researchers, the rigorous regulations on the treatments of animals and all of our compliance obligations very seriously,” she said.

Negotiation is Over has distributed fliers offering $100 rewards for information on students involved in animal research, leading UF police to issue a warning to students at the start of the semester. It identified one 18-year-old Gainesville woman on the website before taking down the information and has previously posted the addresses and phone numbers of UF faculty researchers.

In late December of 2010, the University of Florida refused a request from NIO activists to produce public records regarding primates imprisoned in their labs, citing an alleged veterinary-client privilege from which the law specifically exempts public institutions engaged in vivisection.

Having gained no relief over the last several months from directly engaging university officials, the Florida legislature, or local media, his morning, Camille Marino [on behalf of Negotiation is Over] filed suit with the Alachua County Clerk to compel disclosure of the public records in question:

23. As of the date if the filing of this suit the Respondent has unlawfully withheld portions of requested public records in violation of Fla. Stat. § 119.07(l)(a).

View our “Petition for Writ of Mandamus” HERE.