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Veterinary Student's Lawsuit Leads to Curriculum Change at Ross University

Please contact: Anne K. Wintemute at The Animal Law Center 1-877-PET LAW 1 or (303) 322-4355

Terminal Dog Surgery Labs Dropped, Replaced with Beneficial Surgeries for Island Dogs

Denver, CO - A third-year veterinary student's recent lawsuit against Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (Ross University) not only assured that she would not be forced to kill healthy dogs in her small animal surgery training labs, but also led to a curriculum change for all Ross University veterinary students. Students will now learn small animal surgery by using a DAISIE training model followed by several spay and/or neuter surgeries on dogs who will be returned to their human caretakers after they recover.

Large animal surgery training, however, has not been resolved. Ross's veterinary students are required to perform surgical procedures on healthy sheep and donkeys. These animals are taken from their natural habitat by university-paid islanders, only to be killed before waking up from surgeries performed by students. Jamie Scott refuses to participate in these labs.

Scott sued Ross University because a university recruiter misrepresented that she would not have to participate in any harmful or fatal uses of animals during her veterinary training. Ross University is owned by DeVry Universities, a publicly-traded company located in Illinois. However, after she arrived at the campus, located on the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean, Jamie quickly learned that the recruiter had distorted the facts about the veterinary school's animal-use policy.

"I spent thousands of dollars and left my companion animals and family only to find out that my greatest nightmare had come true -- I would have to participate in killing animals in order to graduate or I could leave and start over somewhere else," said Scott. "I requested an alternative surgery track, providing information about surgery training used by many veterinary schools that benefits rather than harms animals, but the Dean and other faculty dismissed me. I was shunned by other students, as well, even though my request for an alternative surgery track for myself didn't affect their education."

Scott contacted the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR), a veterinary association that helped other veterinary students graduate without compromising their ethics. AVAR sought out an attorney for Scott in Colorado where the recruitment took place.

"Jamie's situation really hit home for me," said Jennifer Thomaidis, a Denver-based attorney at The Animal Law Center. "I have initiated many animal protection cases. When I learned that Ross University was trying to force Jamie to harm animals, after promising her that her ethics would be respected, I was eager to participate. I am confident that our continuing legal efforts to protect her deep regard for animals will yield an alternative to large animal surgery training for her, or that Ross University will make yet another surgery curriculum change that will benefit Jamie and other veterinary students who deserve a humane education."

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