Animal abuse and cruelty are barbaric and inhumane, and the Auckland University Animal Rights Group believes that animal dissection, testing, and research embody animal abuse.
The animals used have no choice but to be subject to the will of their human captors, and 68% of the animals manipulated at our uni each year will die as a result of the manipulation (not including invertebrates). Each and every one of these creatures is sentient, capable of feeling love, happiness, and a sense of friendship, but is also capable of feeling pain, fear, and despair. Each and every one of these creatures suffers complete loss of freedom, goes through pain and torture unimaginable to most humans, and ultimately dies an unnatural painful death, and while some are captured from the wild, 76%are bred for this purpose, born during the manipulation, or sourced from commercial providers; they may never see the light of day.
Our four proposals are that:
1. UoA surrender 30 rats to AUARG at the end of 2014 for rehoming and rehabilitation.
Rats have the second highest manipulation and death rate (after mice) at the University of Auckland. They are also heavily stigmatised, with popular opinion and popular culture positing them as disease-ridden, dirty vermin. By rehoming and rehabilitating 30 of the rats who are not killed as a result of the experimentation, AUARG hopes to not only right the wrongs committed against these beautiful sensitive creatures, but also de-stigmatise them and aid realisation of their sweet nature and sentience. Of the 4,548 animals left alive last year, not one was rehomed, although 2424 were simply released back into the wild.
2. UoA allow students the choice to opt out of dissection exercises
Students deserve the right to decide for themselves whether they want to take part in dissection, and this choice should not be undermined by killing the animal regardless of the student’s choice. This demonstrates disrespect not only for the autonomy and personal choices of students, but the ultimate disrespect for the life of the poor creature killed for literally no reason whatsoever.
3. UoA remove all requirements of dissection from first-year papers
The requirement of dissection in first-year papers is wasteful, ineffective, and often emotionally and psychologically damaging to students. A number of Auckland University Animal Rights Group members were either put off from studying for a degree in health or science due to the requirements of the degree to manipulate and /or kill perfectly healthy animals, or put off continuing their degree by these requirements. Such degrees are notorious for their high attrition rates. World class universities Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Oxford no longer teach anatomy through animal dissection. It is clear now that Auckland University would be quite capable of following suit at the very least for first-year papers.
A number of alternatives are available for use in place of the current cruel practices performed at UoA. Computer simulations, prosections, ethically-sourced cadavers, preserved anatomical specimens, models, mannequins, and supervised clinical experiences are just some of the many options available to tertiary institutions in place of animal use, and are being adopted all over the world. UoA is falling behind in terms of ethical, effective education.
4. UoA reduce the numbers of animals killed annually by 20% by the end of 2015.
Of the 14,217 animals used on University of Auckland grounds last year, 9,669 died. That is almost ten thousand sentient, feeling beings who died in one year at our university, or 68% of those manipulated. These figures encompass not only dissection, but also animal testing and research. Testing and research is done in conjunction with the Liggins Institute and other companies such as Telemetry Research, a company of which a University of Auckland staff member is the director. Research reports (including the methodologies used) are available to read on the University of Auckland faculty websites, and reveal a number of disturbing experiments in the name of science. One example is the inducement of hypoxia and hyperoxia (the deprivation and oversaturation of oxygen) in rats over a continuous period of three weeks in order to prove the effectiveness of the devices created by the company for the measurement of tissue oxygenation in the freely moving rat. Another was the manipulation of still-foetal lambs inside their mothers’ wombs in order to test the renal sympathetic nerve activity during asphyxia in foetal sheep. Both the mothers and the children were all killed at the end of the experiments. All of the experiments facilitated at the university are approved by the university’s Animal Ethics Committee.
Putting aside all ethical arguments, data collected from animal testing is not only unreliable, but also dangerous. The history of pharmaceutical testing is rife with examples: Paracetamol hospitalised 1500 in 1971; Orablex caused kidney damage with fatal outcomes; MEL/29 caused cataracts; Metaqualone caused psychic disturbances leading to 366 deaths; Thalidomide caused over 10000 malformed children worldwide; Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin) caused Leukaemia; Stilbestrol caused cancer in young women; Isoproterenol killed thousands of asthma suffers during the 1960s; Trilergan caused viral hepatitis; Flamanil caused loss of consciousness; and Eraldin caused serious problems to eyesight and the digestive tract, ultimately resulting in 18 deaths. All of these drugs were released and marketed as safe after extensive animal testing.
These fatalities are the result of one major flaw in the argument for animal use: the assumption that what is true for one species is true for another. The truth is that animals and humans are biologically different. Monkeys and guinea-pigs can safely eat stychine, but it remains one of the deadliest poisons for humans. Similarly, a dose of opium which would kill a man is harmless to dogs and chickens, while both rabbits and goats can safely consume a dose of belladonna which would prove fatal to a human being. This assumption also works the other way: penicillin, digitalis, and chloroform, which have proved to be particularly useful drugs for humankind, were put aside for a long time due to their adverse effects on guinea-pigs and dogs respectively.
The continued use of animal testing then, is little more than pseudo-science, and serves only to retard any true progress in the field of medicine. The many alternatives to vivisection – including epidemiology, clinical studies, in vitro research, autopsies, genetic research, diagnostic imaging, and post-marketing drug surveillance – are not only ethically superior alternatives, but they also yield more relevant and thus more reliable data.
A 20% reduction of annual animal fatalities is a very reasonable demand. The removal of dissection in first-year papers will aid this effort, as will an entire re-design of the currently hugely wasteful mindset of the tertiary institution. Animals must not be treated as commodities for human progress when there are effective alternatives.
If you could not bear to see your family pet or other animal manipulated while still a foetus inside its mother’s womb and ultimately killed, continuously denied and then oversaturated with oxygen for a period of three weeks, killed and cut open by an inexperienced first-year university student who may not even continue their pursuance of a career in health or science, or killed for a university student despite their choice to opt out of the exercise, then you are against the current animal manipulation practices at the University of Auckland.
Please sign our petition.
Oxford Medical Sciences Teaching Centre (n.d.). Does the Medical School offer dissection and/or prosection? — Study Medicine. Retrieved from http://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/study/medicine/pre-clinical/faqs/teaching/does-the-medical-school-offer-dissection-and-or-prosection