Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters
Monash University science students are conducting completely unnecessary experiments on live rabbits as part of undergraduate science classes.
Students are instructed to restrain sedated rabbits on a lab table with their paws and teeth tied to anchor points. The students then cut open the rabbits’ throats with an unsterilised instrument and administer various chemicals to see how this affects the heart rate of the rabbit. When the class is over the rabbits are killed and discarded in a rubbish bin.
BARBARIC AND UNNECESSARY
Professor R H Day (Chair of the Monash Animal Welfare Committee) admits that there are humane non animal alternatives available to these students which do not disadvantage them in any way. The majority of U.S. medical schools, including Harvard, Stanford, and Yale, no longer use live animals in any of their pharmacology, physiology, or surgery courses. Why is Monash lagging so far behind?
When distressed students came to us with information about this class we launched an undercover investigation. Wired up with hidden cameras, students documented the animal abuse behind closed doors. Watch the investigation video and then learn how you can voice your opposition to this senseless bloody animal abuse.
Rabbit-kill research may breach cruelty law
Reid Sexton, the age.com.au
RABBITS are being needlessly, and possibly illegally, killed during optional experiments by Monash University science students.
The experiments, which involve slitting the throats of unconscious rabbits while they are tied to tables by their teeth and legs, appear to breach the Australian code of practice that binds organisations using animals for teaching purposes.
And the shadow minister for agriculture, John Vogels, has called on the Department of Primary Industries to address the issue with Monash.
The code states that "animals are not to be used for teaching activities unless there are no suitable alternatives for achieving all of the educational objectives".
In a statement sent to The Sunday Age, Monash said every possible alternative to the experiments had been exhausted. All animals used in experiments were heavily anaesthetised and treated "legally, ethically and humanely".
But this is despite the university offering students the chance to learn all they need to know to pass their exams by watching a pre-recorded DVD.
The experiments occur in clinical and experimental cardiovascular physiology classes taken by third-year undergraduate students completing science or bio-medical science degrees.
Students make an incision in the throats of the anaesthetised rabbits before inserting a catheter and administering drugs to raise and lower the animals' heart rates. The rabbits are then given a fatal drug overdose and disposed of.
Monash's animal welfare committee chairman, Ross Day, has admitted that students can watch the video instead of taking part in the procedure that kills about 30 rabbits a year.
The tests may breach the 1997 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations.
Noah Hannibal, of Animal Liberation Victoria, said the group was organising a protest to coincide with the start of Monash's O-Week this month.
In a letter written to Animal Liberation Victoria last November, Professor Day stated that "students are … given the option of attending a video-based alternative class to accommodate students with ethical objections to live animal use".
They would not be penalised or disadvantaged if they chose the video-based option, he said.
A spokesman for the Department of Primary Industries, which is responsible for issuing animal testing licences in Victoria, said it was the university's responsibility to ensure concerns were dealt with. "DPI would like to see replacement techniques employed wherever possible."
But Mr Vogels has called on the DPI to do more. "(The DPI) should request an immediate explanation from the university and its animal ethics committee to ascertain the facts regarding the matter and take appropriate action," he said.
Glenys Oogjes, who sits on the Minister of Agriculture's Victorian animal welfare advisory committee and is part of the liaison group that reviews the code, said it appeared the law was being broken. "I would say it (the experiment) is unnecessary and potentially illegal."
Comment: There’s absolutely no need to subject any animal to the horrific experiments inflicted on them by the human species. All animals suffer and feel pain. So many alternatives are available, like in vitro cell culture techniques, genomics, and computer-modelling. You can read more on Altweb and at Johns Hopkins.
Homo (man) sapiens (wise, intelligent). We certainly haven’t lived up to this title, nor to our ethical obligations. We are takers and users, and are creating our own destruction. Too bad we’re destryoing every other species and the planet in the process.
Victory! The Monash Rabbits have been saved
We are overjoyed to announce that Monash University have confirmed that the live rabbit dissections are not taking place this year. The classes have been replaced with a humane non animal alternative.
Thank you so much to everyone who sent in objections, took part in protests, or contributed to the campaign in any way. This huge victory for the rabbits could not have been achieved without you!
However, the campaign is not over yet. Monash University are refusing to stop ALL live animal dissections.
This means that there is nothing to stop the university resuming these experiments again in a few years, or using other animals in similar experiments. Monash has even indicated that there are other live animal experiments planned for this year.
Until we can get a guarantee from Monash that they are putting an end to ALL live animal experiments in the classroom, the campaign will continue. Please sign up to our e-mail list (or facebook and myspace pages) to receive the latest information about what you can do to stop live animal dissections at Monash University.
There’s no need to use animals as tools in experiments or for any other reason, for that matter. The Monash rabbits received international attention, and advanced the animal rights and ethical movements in raising the status of the rabbit. Kudos to everyone for making a difference.
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