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  veterinary education.

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.

Nick Jukes
InterNICHE Co-ordinator
19 Brookhouse Avenue
Leicester LE2 0JE

tel/fax +44 116 210 9652