News from Queensland: Ban the Provision of Homeless Pets for Teaching and Research Purposes

ATTEND RALLY: Did you know that Logan Council in Queensland regularly sends it’s healthy pound animals to the University of Queensland for use in terminal surgery labs?  It’s been going on a long time. And it’s time to stop.

There is growing opposition to the practice and if you are a local resident, NonHumanRescue invites you to attend a public rally on Sat 27th November at the Logan Animal Management Centre  in Kingston and another on 29th January at the University itself. Please go and bring all your friends.

Please sign the petition here – do it now!

Additional information on the subject:

This is from the website of another organisation (not involved in this rally), Humane Research Australia:

“A number of Australian councils have been identified that provide dogs to Queensland University for research purposes.

Caboolture Shire Council, (now Moreton Bay Regional Council) stated “Council has a long standing arrangement with local veterinary clinics and the Queensland University for the humane euthanasia of unwanted animals.”

(DRP note inserted : we have been told that Moreton Bay Council have now stopped the practice)

Logan City Council, despite receiving petitions and reviewing the situation after much correspondence and a meeting with HRA “made the decision to provide animals to the university.”

The University of Queensland has advised that they use pound animals for training veterinary surgeons and in feeding trial research.

The Humane Research Australia Inc. opposes the use of pound animals in research and teaching for the following reasons:

Read more here…..

DRP Comment:

For a Council to send it’s animals to a University for live testing, research, education, and then killing, is morally and ethically wrong. They say “they are going to die anyway…”

This campaign  needs a lot of public support, please get involved now.

Actions you can take:

1)Attend the rally in Logan on November 27th and 29 January.

2)Sign the petition

3) Download and distribute this poster :NonHumanRescue_PublicRally_DLFlyer_Email_DB

4) Please write to the following Minister and Councils and other key stakeholders:

Mulherin, Hon. Tim Sean, MP
Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland
8th Floor, DPI Building
80 Ann Street
Brisbane QLD 4000
GPO Box 46, Brisbane QLD 4001
tel: 323 93000
fax: 322 98541

Mr Chris Rose
Chief Executive Officer
Logan City Council
PO Box 3226
Logan City DC
Qld  4114

Or email:

Cr Pam Parker
Mayor, Logan City Council
PO Box 3226
Logan City DC
Qld  4114

Or email:

Professor Jonathan Hill
Head of School & Dean ,
School of Veterinary Science
University of Queensland
Qld  4343

Or email:

(Note: the vet school must be influenced to change their practices in using live animals)

Sample letter:

Dear Minister Mulherin,

I am deeply concerned about the inhumane treatment of pets entrusted to Logan City Council Animal Management Centre QLD. I urge you to cease this inhumane arrangement of providing healthy homeless pets to the University of QLD for veterinary students to use in terminal surgery labs.

It is unethical to “practice” on healthy homeless pets in order to gain skills to use on those fortunate enough to have potential owners who are willing to provide these pets with a loving home.

These homeless pets are sentient beings and are not tools to be used in labs because they have had irresponsible first owners and ended up in a council facility. Sydney and Melbourne University have ceased this inhumane practice and actually offer a desexing service so that student vets can learn post operative surgery monitoring as this is the skill they will need when in a real life clinic.

How can any medical professional/student vet judge the success of an operation if they kill their patient before waking them up?

With human medicine, professionals learn from other doctors in teaching hospitals. If this is acceptable then why not allow experimental operations on homeless people?

This practice indicts a conflict of interest between pets interests and business relations.

Considering now there is several humane teaching options this is an outdated and inhumane practice that is exploiting healthy homeless pets in QLD.

As Minister you must act now on the interests of these homeless pets and end this inhumane and outdated inhumane practice.

In 2008, DRP wrote this letter to the then head of the University Veterinary Department. We did not get a reply.

Dear Dr Filippich

 “UQ Veterinary School associate professor Lucio Fillippich said he was baffled by the decision because his feedback indicated the public was “very supportive”.

“If the supply stops, obviously we can’t continue,” he said.

“We would hope to be able to find sources, but whether we will or not (I don’t know) … we do get animals that are donated, but not enough.”

Dr Fillippich said it was essential for trainee vets and urged Logan councilors to keep providing animals, which were destined to be euthanased anyway.

“We don’t believe there’s any genuine reason why this source of animals should be stopped,” he said.

“Certainly if we lose these sources then our education system will suffer without a doubt.”

“We wouldn’t be using them if we could do the same training in an alternative way.”

 I refer to your comments in the Courier Mail August 4th 2008.

 I’d like to present you with a perspective you may not have considered.

 It would seem to me that your request to keep the flow of healthy animals coming from Councils means that you by implication endorse the excess animals that are regrettably in the Pound system.

 I could understand that that is not your intent, but that is an outcome you have created.

 May I ask please if you are a member of the AVA?

 The AVA in NSW has been doing everything in its power to stop the progress of the  NSW Animals (Regulation of Sale) Bill 2007 which is aimed at reducing the numbers of healthy animals that end up in pounds and shelters.

 I wonder if these two issues are remotely linked in any way?

 Ie: “we need lots of animals for our vets to learn on”…. And…….. “let’s do everything we can to stop a Bill that will remove many animals from the pound system”.

 I would welcome your comments on this.

 If you have been quoted correctly, then your comment about healthy animals ”which are going to be euthenased anyway” is reprehensible and sadly disappointing.

 The animals deserve better than that from a professional vet. What example are you setting the young vets coming through?

 I can tell you that I am one member of the public that is absolutely not “very supportive” of this strategy in the least.

 Your positioning of this issue unfortunately and  regrettably endorses the situation in Australia where we produce more animals than can be found homes for, and the excess end up in pounds to be killed (whether in the Pound or one of your labs – it  makes no difference).

 You are implying , possibly not deliberately, that this is in fact “OK” because it gives you what you want – more animals in your labs.

 ………“Don’t change the status quo please”.

 May I ask what you and your faculty are doing to reduce the numbers of healthy animals entering the pound system? I can understand that it might not be in your charter, but the public with whom we communicate will be interested.

 Doctors today don’t learn on healthy humans that they euthenase at the end of their procedures.

 To say “they would be killed anyway” is just wrong – someone in your position should know better than that.

 I’m sure you can find other ways for vets to study their art.

 To imply as you have, that if you don’t get the animals, the veterinary science will suffer, impresses no one.”


63 thoughts on “News from Queensland: Ban the Provision of Homeless Pets for Teaching and Research Purposes

  1. carol maroun October 27, 2010 / 10:54 pm

    With all these poor animals they kill, they still are far from curing diseases, people still getting chemo for cancer, etc. they are just killers, look out people because the future experiments will most probably be on us, the government will trade our lives one day for favours from extra terrestrial beings(Aliens if you like). I bet you are beside yourself laughing? But i know your thinking about it.Save the homeless animals and we save ourselves.Let them die and we are next.

  2. Natalie November 1, 2010 / 9:30 pm

    Ok, this is unbelievable. I attend the University of QLD and I am also a avid supporter of the RSPCA and PETA. I am strongly against animal cruelty.

    This article is completely misinterprets the university. Yes, animals are given to the university through an agreement, however if whoever took the time to write this article, I question have you seen the facilities at the pound? They are at full capacity everyday, now compare it to the new facilities at the university. If you were to see these facilities I’m pretty sure you would see that the university is not about ‘killing’ animals.

    The animals picked up from said pound undergo behavioural tests therefore those that do end up in terminal pracs are those that CANNOT be rehomed because they are dangerous, aggressive. They make seem cute however animals are unpredictable – how would you like to take home a pound animal only to have it bite yourself or even your child?

    These animals are treated with respect whilst on (how some people like to INCORRECTLY refer to as) ‘death row’. They are provided with excellent food, exercise, clean facilities and attention. It is not as if they are dumped into some cramped cage until they are euthanised. Now look at pound facilities, they are generally dirty, cramped and always filled to capacity.

    Are you also aware they (the uni) have an adoption and fostering program for rehomeable animals that pass the behavioural tests?

    Overall, the problem is not with the pounds and the university. It originally starts with people who DO NOT desex or take care of their animals. Perhaps more time and money should be spent on educating people on how to properly take care of their animals, instead of stupid protests against something people misinterpret.

    At the end of a particular time (approx. 7 days after an animal has been admitted to the pound and not claimed) then they are euthanised regardless, and it is to help of no one – it’s going to happen anyway.

    These are students training to be veterinarians – those who LOVE animals and want to CARE and HELP them and are paying extreme amounts of money to do so, yet they are killers or don’t care about animals? I’m sorry but people assume that people go into the veterinary industry for the money? Look again – they earn hardly anything considering what they do!

    Research is necessary to try and find cures to help benefit animals in the future. If there were no research animals, then vaccinations etc would never have been discovered and dogs, cats etc everywhere would be sick with kennel cough, flu etc.

    These people care a lot more about animals and would never intentionally hurt healthy animals for unnecessary purposes.
    Maybe instead of protesting you should check out the facilities and maybe then you would understand that this whole argument is completely irrational!!!

    Any one can own an animal but do many people know how to look after one properly? Every day I see my neighbour abuse their dog, I hear it cry everyday and I see it get fed disgusting food. Yes, we have called the RSPCA and nothing has really happened. The point is there are people like that, who are the problem because they dont take care of their pet and they do not desex their pet, if that dog gets out and finds a female, then there will be puppies which will most likely be dumped and end up at the local pound. Once again, spend your time trying to prevent this situation by educating people on proper animal care not protesting something you do not even know the full story of!

  3. Kisha November 4, 2010 / 1:20 am

    Hi Natalie,
    I regret to inform you that those who are protesting this arrangement have both attended UQ as well as worked for this particular pound.
    Also of note, is that both the University of NSW and Melbourne University have stopped this practice. Brisbane City Council and Moreton Bay Regional Council have also terminated their provision of homeless pets to UQ. It is not necessary. Alternatives are widely accessible, particularly for a university that just received a $100 million upgrade to its vet school.

    What do you consider to be “proper animal care” – is it not in the best interest of the ‘animal’ to live out a normal life and normal patterns of behaviour?

    Employees that work for council pounds are not trained in behavioural assessment, and UQ refuses to take any aggressive/dangerous dogs. Why would they? Why would such a large institution risk their staff and students?

    With regards to pound capacity; this is directly the result of poor management and minimal rehoming effort. In fact, the manager of this particular facility was previously a library manager, with very little experience of the ‘pet’ industry.

    Sorry to hear that you support RSPCA and PETA.


  4. Simone November 6, 2010 / 5:52 pm

    Experimental operations and testing has ceased at Sydney university and Melbourne university. Melbourne desex and keep alive for rehoming. This UQ and Logan arrangement is dependent on homeless rehomable pets when other humane methods of teaching are practiced interstate and worldwide. It is unethical and inhumane to operate on a patient and kill them before waking them up. How can the success of an operation be judged if you kill your patient? As for irresponsible pet ownership lobby your local councils for better pet education in communities.

  5. Helen Marston November 8, 2010 / 1:29 pm

    Trainee veterinarians enter their profession with the intention of helping animals. Killing healthy animals to obtain their training is a contradiction and sends a confusing message that can result in desensitisation and a loss of respect for life.

    Students can become compassionate and competent veterinarians without having to kill those they are training to protect. They can gain valuable experience operating under strict supervision on animals who will actually benefit from the surgery. This way they will also gain experience in observing and monitoring post-operative recovery which is one of the major components of health care.

    The fact that veterinary schools in the UK and the United States, as well as Sydney University, are able to produce well-qualified veterinarians without relying on terminal surgery labs demonstrates that they are able to achieve the same outcome by more humane means.

    Comprehensive reviews have concluded that in the vast majority of cases, these alternative methods perform as well as methods that rely on harmful animal use, and in some cases achieved superior learning outcomes. It’s therefore unclear why University of Queensland continues to fiercely defend their current practice of unnecessary killing.

    If there is a more humane way of doing something then we are ethically obliged to use the humane option.

    The number of healthy animals euthanased each day due to a lack of suitable homes is a tragedy, but using pound animals is actually creating a dependence on the problem rather than helping to solve it. Queensland University is therefore benefiting from the human irresponsibility and cruelty necessitating pounds.

  6. Knowledgable November 8, 2010 / 10:34 pm

    Though this post is not supporting your cause I sincerely hope you post it to your website as it will provide a view from the other side and a healthy 2 sided view is always best.

    What would any of you know? Have you been to the facilities? Interacted with the terminal dogs? Seen the procedures and the respect and love with which the dogs are treated by the students? Spoken to a student who has done the procedures? No you have not, in fact most of you have probably just heard about this from groups such as these and immediately jumped on the bandwagon, but you will act like you know all anyway.

    UQ grads are highly sought after due to their real life experience performing surgery. Surgery is a necessary part of being a veterinarian and it is a huge advantage and privilege to have the experience before going out into the profession – not to mention a clear benefit for the first animal to be operated on by a new grad. I would not like my pet to undergo an operation with a vet who has never performed surgery, had to deal with bleeding or the complications of anaesthesia! Yes, many university’s do turn out vets without having done live surgery, but then it is up to their first employers to teach them surgery on dogs that will have to live with the mistakes a new graduate makes – how is that fair? Leave the teaching of such things up to an educational centre in a controlled environment, not taught by whoever is their first employer.

    No I do not study vet so please do not harass me, but I know many who do and you are really tarring them with a horrid brush. Vet students love animals and treat the hospital dogs (whether terminal or not) with love and respect. You do not slave away to gain entry to vet school and then go through 5 years of hell to graduate if you do not have a driving passion for animals. It is emotional for many of the students too and there are many tears shed in these practicals I can tell you, so do not act as if you are the high and mighty and they the scum/animal haters.

    These dogs are in the pound already and have failed rehoming tests. They then have two options: be euthanased by a subqualified kennel hand, or go the university for a second attempt at rehoming. If this second attempt fails they are used for terminal surgery tuition. I pride myself on seeing both sides of any argument but I cannot see your side here. These are animals who are destined for euthanasia at the hands of a kennel hand. Instead they are given a second shot at being rehomed by the school, and if not suitable they are used to further the education of students who will use the knowledge gained to save and treat countless animals in their future. The dogs are interacted with by the students and their last moments on this earth are spent walking in the exercise yard and being hugged/played with by the students who perform the surgery – how is this possibly a bad thing?

    Instead of being upset with any educational institution TRAINING future vets (animal helpers) perhaps you should turn your attention and anger to why there are so many dogs in pounds getting euthanased every year in the first place – this is not the vet school’s fault as I am sure you are all aware and a public campaign to stop this surplus of unwanted dogs would be a much better way to spend all your time and energy and is a cause everyone would support. But that wouldn’t be as EASY would it?

    Over the course of their lives these vet students and academics who you are so willing to condemn will save many, many hundreds if not thousands more animals than you people ever will by complaining about things – think about that.

  7. Noob November 8, 2010 / 11:10 pm

    Dear Helen,

    I was wondering about your statement, this particular paragraph caught my attention “…the fact that veterinary schools in the UK and the United States, as well as Sydney University, are able to produce well-qualified veterinarians without relying on terminal surgery labs demonstrates that they are able to achieve the same outcome by more humane means.

    Comprehensive reviews have concluded that in the vast majority of cases, these alternative methods perform as well as methods that rely on harmful animal use, and in some cases achieved superior learning outcomes.”

    Where did you obtain the data to suggest that practicing on cadaver is better than a live one? I am not disagreeing with you but merely curious.

    Based on my own experience, it is far better to work on a living creature than a dead one. In dead animals, many of the structures seen is not a very accurate picture of what you see in the live ones. Decomposition and autolysis creates artifact in the very structure you are trying to do surgery on. The lack of blood pulsing through gives a false perception that one is doing a good job with the surgery. Discoloration of tissue also poses a challenge to the surgeon, sometimes it becomes easy to mistake structures in the body for another because of discoloration, this do not occur in real life surgery and may further mislead students


  8. Kate November 8, 2010 / 11:12 pm

    I once again can not fathom the stupidity of some peeple. We are all entitled to our own opinions, but answer me this simple question – would you want your veterinarian operating on your dog never having the experience in university. I think it would be quite the contrary.

    And yes, some UQ does perform spay/castration and rehome those dogs subsequently. And yes there are terminal surgeries, but those dogs that are euthanised are unable to be rehomed due to severe behavioural problems etc.

    Before fingers are pointed the entire story should be obtained.

  9. Kisha November 8, 2010 / 11:24 pm

    Basically the core issue of this campaign is that these are sentient beings, aggressive or not, who have in an interest in their lives not to be used or exploited. We operate from a non-speciesist paradigm that seeks to highlight actions that use or exploit nonhumans or refer to them as inferior.
    Other core issues include 1. Lesser opportunity for post-operative assessment 2. Exploitation of pet overpopulation crisis 3. Desensitization of students (see 4. Alternatives available 5. The fact that humans are reliant upon doctors despite lack of ‘live’ donated human beings.
    Please see ( for the effectiveness of humane teaching methods in veterinary education or (resources detailing efficacy of humane education, by well-known Veterinarian Andrew Knight).
    As for Helen Marston’s response – her report is located at
    You have your opinion, we have ours. We don’t seek to beat anyone or go around verbally abusing people; Nonhuman Rescue Ops seeks to raise awareness of how nonhumans are treated in the community. If people care, thats fantastic. If they disagree, then they can disagree. Our actions and aspired outcome will not affect you or other vet students. We do this for each and every creature out there that dies as a result of the human hand. As for the pet overpopulation issue, this is another debate in itself.
    Thank-you for your opinion.

  10. Sally November 8, 2010 / 11:52 pm

    I would just like to point out that the dogs that are used for terminal surgery are no different to any other surgery, apart from the fact they don’t wake up. All dogs are given a health check, sedative then anaesthetic (just like any other dog or even you or I). The dogs do not feel anything, and at the end of the practical are put down (never waking from surgery). It is not cruel on any part to the dog.

    In regards to other universities not having terminal surgeries, it has been said that our surgery skills are alot high. It is not just the surgical skills but anaesthetic skills as well. Can’t learn anaesthetics if the dog is already dead.

    Yes these are dogs that are going to be put down anyway. Wouldn’t it be better that the end of their life has some good in it, rather than just being disposed of.

  11. anonymous November 9, 2010 / 10:43 am


    As a veterinary student myself I find this rally to be unfounded. I doubt any of this information was gathered first hand but rather was accumulated from the hear say of others. I understand why people feel this way though. Any treatment of animals especially in the medical fields will raise ethical issues. Many vaccinations for humans have been developed due to testings done on animals, yet humans have benefited from this. In our society today, especially with the advancements in science we have made its hard it is hard to make gains without something being compromised. It is unfair to slam university students when they are not the cause for why animals are in the pound in the first place. Those animals are there because they were abused by their owners or people couldnt look after them. The problem is with the education of society and getting people to realise the importance of desexing, vaccinations and training of animals. An animals behaviour is a reflection of their upbringing and environment. Yes animals are unpredictable but people need to realise this and realise most violent behaviour is due to the beahviours they teach their dogs and the environment they expose them to. Also people need to realise that caring for an animal is a huge responsibility. Vet students love animals and to say otherwise would be a huge insult. If we didnt love animals we wouldnt spend 5 hard years at uni doing everything we can to make sure that when we do graduate we have the skills needed to help save animals. This does mean we need to practice on live animals. I wouldnt appreciate a vet practising surgery on my animal if they had never done it before on a live animal. The risks associated with this are much greater. We simply dont have the funding or sytem that the human medical professions do.
    I can understand why people are distressed. Its not a clear cut issue, but as people have mentioned these dogs are in the pound due to irresponsible owners or for behavioural issues and for anyone who says pounds are not at full capacity this is a lie.

    It is hard to argue these issues if people have never actually been to the veterinary unit and seen what is done. If people were to actually talk to students, members of the univeristy and see the facilities, I would respect then if their opinion was unchanged. But do not express opinions if you have not made the effort to gather the points for your arguement first hand. The pound does not give us dogs that can be rehomed. Its a matter of trying to achieve some good out of a dire situation that does exist in our society and regrettably so.

  12. MIssed the Point November 9, 2010 / 11:20 am

    Whilst I am against the provision of animals to UQ for the use of terminal surgeries, I am afraid that this protest/site has failed to address the real issue at hand…….

    All the protesting in the world to stop these terminal surgeries will in NO WAY impact the injustice done to these animals……yes you may protest and have this agreement with UQ and the pound abolished, but what does this achieve……..this animals will still have undergone a cruel and unjust life that will ultimately result in their euthanasia. Don’t you think that all this time and effort would be better spent aimed at those who dump and abandon their pets in the first place??? More public education and greater penalties need to be in place to stop people treating their pets as ‘disposable items’.
    Afterall if the public took greater responsibility in looking after their pets adequately the university would have no animals to use and we would not have to protest against it!!
    I think this protest is thinking a little to ‘after the fact’….we need to be proactive to stop these animals entering this terrible situation in the first place!!!!!!!

  13. Anonymous vet student November 9, 2010 / 11:55 am

    To the writer of death row pets, I think you should clarify statements such as “For a Council to send it’s animals to a University for live testing, research, education, and then killing, is morally and ethically wrong”.

    This is your personal opinion, not a statement of fact. I for one prescribe to a teleological ethical view point i.e I judge the morality of actions based upon there consequences or outcome, unlike your clearly deontological view, I don’t see the world in black or white. The outcome of the use of these animals in terminal surgery is from personal experience as follows: animals otherwise destined for euthanasia in crowded pounds are given a 2nd chance at behaviour training and being rehomed, if they still fail they at least spent there last weeks of life in a much better environment than they would have in pounds, they undergo carefully monitored anaesthesia and as such are completely unaware of the surgical procedures taking place, they are then humanely euthanased, we vet students gain invaluable experience from these pracs and unlike so many dogs that don’t make it from the pound, their lives aren’t completely wasted.

    In short, from the dogs perspective they live out there last days in good conditions, and are they are then euthanased. This, in my opinion, is an equal if not better outcome than they would have otherwise faced, and hence I deeply resent your assumption that you have any authority to dictate what is ethically or morally right or wrong in this world.


  14. Minia November 9, 2010 / 12:52 pm

    Have you people ever thought about what happens in pounds all over Australia every year? If you have a look at the website i will post below you will see that tens of thousands of dogs, cats and other animals are euthanised each year by the RSPCA.

    In 2007-2008 alone, 23 772 dogs, 42 731 cats and 11 015 other animals were euthanised. And do you want to know why? Either it was not possible to find a suitable home for them, they had too many medical problems or they had too many behavioural problems (some dangerous to themselves, humans and other animals). This is just a fact of life and I know that you people know the RSPCA does everything it can to protect animals from cruelty and suffering.

    This is public information that you could have found yourselves but either failed to or decided to leave out because it doesn’t support your weak argument.

    The University of Queensland School of Veterinary Science, I can tell now, does NOT use 77 518 animals for their non-resuscitate surgery classes. I can also tell you that, like the RSPCA, the university does everything in its power to try re-home these animals, (of which many are given to the university because pounds have not been successful at rehoming them).

    So you tell me now, what do you propose we do with the 77 518 animals? You keep telling everyone that there are other methods of solving this problem, yet none of you have been able to provide any.

    How about you educate yourselves a little better on this matter and stop thinking of things in such a superficial light. What you should be worrying about is the irresponsible pet owners who get these animals in this situation in the first place!!!

    It is not fair to be targeting pounds and universities they are just doing their jobs, cleaning up the mess that irresponsible pet owners leave behind. It is especially not fair to slam pounds and their staff when they are highly under-resourced. This is a government issue.

    Furthermore, you people should be worrying about the lack of power given by governments to those upholding animal welfare law, ensuring that those breaking the law are appropriately punished and not slapped on the wrist.

    It is blatantly evident that money, time and effort should be aimed at solving the root of this problem, not axing those who are enforcing a band-aid solution.

  15. interested November 9, 2010 / 12:53 pm

    I think people need to know more about the surgical training performed at the university before condemning it.

    Medical research performed on healthy animals (dogs, pigs, mice, rats ect) every day of the week in the name of helping people, not animals and some of this research is conducted without providing adequate pain relief. However the same types of experiments that are performed on animals to benefit people, would never pass a board of ethics if the research was to the benefit animals and not people.

    So if we are so complacent to use the drugs and life saving surgeries that have been developed at the expense of healthy animals, I can’t understand why it is “unethical” to allow training vets to make use of dogs that are going to be destroyed in a humane pain free manner, to BENEFIT other dogs? It will only make them more aweare of their duty to educate the public upon graduation to be responsible pet owners and thus prevent the thousands of dogs being euthanased every year by pounds.

  16. Rob November 9, 2010 / 1:28 pm

    This whole article is quite unfounded. The animals taken in by UQ from the pound are given a second chance at life. They are behaviour tested and those that cannot safely rehomed are then euthenased as would occur at any RSPCA shelter. However, here the animals are not wasted but rather before they die they’re used in a completely pain free surgery under general anaesthetic for teaching the up and coming generations of veterinarians.

    You probably mean well as an animal lover but your intentions are misplaced this time. You are targeting the academic face of animal welfare and care. The students who you are so keen to criticise would not be studying this degree if it were not for our own love in animals. Five years hard slog of studying + the competition to even gain entry into the course is not exactly an idylic lifestyle.

    These animals are treated utmost respect and kept in exemplary conditions. As someone has already mentioned we’re in our new facilities in which every step of the planning was overseen by an animal ethics committee. Correspondingly, the accommidation provided to the animals is first rate and they even have an exercise yard specifically designed to enhance their lives. Several animal ethics committees exist that the university utilises and everything involving animal use must be presented and given their stamp of approval before any action can occur. This includes everything from learning where to hold a stethoscope on an animal to these teaching surgeries in question.

    It is never easy as a veterinary student to euthenase an otherwise healthy animal but the fact is this is what would be occurring if the animal was still at the pound. Alternatively, at the vet school they can be used to teach the next generation of veterinarians and unless you’d like the first live animal for me to see in surgery to be yours I’d recommend you reconsider your grounds for this attack.

  17. anon November 9, 2010 / 2:17 pm

    This is why I dropped out of Vet school. Just couldn’t deal with the contradiction of wanting to save animals’ lives and having to perform surgery on them and kill them straight after! Madness.

  18. Confused November 9, 2010 / 3:11 pm

    I am truly confused by the accusations and misplaced anger in this article. Firstly, would you like a veterinary science graduate in their first year out to perform surgery on your animal, having only dealt with cadavers?? I sure wouldn’t.

    Secondly, the conditions at the UQ clinal studies building are astonishing! Perfectly clean, plenty of toys, plenty of food, plenty of water, environmental enrichment and tonnes of exercise performed by loving volunteers (mainly vet students). Also, unlike many pounds, the animals are trained and minor behavioural issues are resolved. I have personally seen plenty of dogs who were deemed innapropriate for rehoming by pounds, sent to UQ and deemed appropriate for rehoming with training adopted by loving families. These dogs would otherwise have, sadly, been euthanased without being given a second chance. UQ gives dogs a second chance at being adopted.

    Supporters of this petition, likely animal lovers who have not seen both sides of the argument, need to understand that, due to some horrendous people in this world some animals end up with severe behavioural issues and in the pound. Sad but true. Education of pet owners is must if we want to see less animals in pounds and more in supportive, loving families.

  19. Kisha November 9, 2010 / 3:48 pm

    As there are no qualified dog behaviourists at LCC pound, can someone please tell me who assesses the pets at UQ and has a certificate III in dog behaviour assessment (registered with National Dog Trainers Federation)?

  20. Kisha November 9, 2010 / 3:49 pm

    Hi anon. I would love to know of your experience. If you feel like sharing, please don’t hesitate to contact me at I would love to get in touch!

  21. Adam R November 9, 2010 / 8:21 pm

    Firstly, I’m not a veterinary student so excuse anything that might not make complete sense and I’m not sure of how they make sure of a dogs behaviour at UQ but would you please tell me how many shelters in Australia have someone with a certificate III in dog behaviour assessment cause if they don’t have someone it really seems a bit silly to whinge about the people who are trying to give these animals that are already on “death row” a second chance.

    Secondly, though I’m sure this cert. III is a wonderful piece of paper the DOCTORS who work in the university’s clinic would probably have a fair bit of experience in the matter themselves I’d imagine.


  22. Natalie November 9, 2010 / 8:39 pm

    Kisha, in reply to your question about who assesses these animals, I am obviously not going to tell you who they are due to privacy reasons. Perhaps you can come down and ask them at the UQ clinical studies centre. I for a fact know there is an animal behaviorist down here as I for one have met them as they have to assess all animals that are to be re homed, so feel free to come down and talk to them. Maybe also check out the facilities whilst you are down here and see how many animals we have up for adoption that came from pounds.

  23. Knowledgeable November 9, 2010 / 8:55 pm

    Yep spot on Natalie – come down to the facilities, get off your high horse and have a good honest non-biased view. I gaurantee you it is better than any animal facility you have ever seen.

    A behaviouralist does come in to evaluate the dogs – can you imagine the backlash if the university “lied” about behaviour assessment (as you seem to be claiming?) and a child was to be bitten? The implications would be huge and an institution like a university would have to be very stupid not to cover themselves by getting a qualified person to sign off on the animal.

    Cert III in dog behaviour? It seems that most places Google believes to offer this course are not tertiary institutions – in fact it seems to be something you can obtain over the internet!! What water does that hold?

    The veterinary student curriculum teaches animal behaviour (so does vet tech I think?), and in fact the lecturer is one of Australia’s leading animal behaviouralists (and a VET!) so every vet has knowledge of it upon graduating. I hardly think a distance education certificate authorises anyone to speak about behaviour more than a university graduated veterinarian. A veterinarian can by law sign a statement about animal behaviour anyway so who needs a cert III?

  24. Kisha November 9, 2010 / 9:04 pm

    It was merely a question. And having completed a subject in behaviour does not make one an expert. Doctors, psychologists, and the like, are required to complete internships before even obtaining qualifications.
    Although I stated previously that this public rally would not affect anyone and we intend to continue our campaign in a nonviolent, educational manner, it seems that most hostility is coming from the other side.
    I have listed the reasons for the campaign and examining the facilities would not alter our opinions. The practice cannot be viewed as anything other than using animals as tools.

  25. Knowledgable November 9, 2010 / 9:19 pm


    I know it was a question and I merely answered it I did not mean to come across as hostile as I do enjoy a logical debate. You cannot compare veterinary science to doctors or psychologists as the system is set up entirely differently. When vets graduate they walk on their own and practice – my brother is a human doctor and was only allowed to stand on his own two feet 6 years after he graduated. Vets graduate and are ready to go.

    And no of course vets are not experts when they graduate (nobody is) but after practicing for 20 years I would much rather listen to a veterinarian than someone who got an internet based Cert III in animal brehaviour. Veterinarians can legally sign off on animal behaviour assessments and that is that – so behaviour evaluation can be undertaken at the university. That point is a fact and can not be argued.

    Of course you are allowed to campaign – it is a free country – but the very fact you have just said your opinion cannot be altered and you refuse to look at the facilities you are campaigning AGAINST shows you are not fuelled by reason or education but merely stubbornly stuck in your mindset.

    If you disagree with using animals as tools I strongly suggest next time you need antibiotics or most other types of drugs you go without, as many mice were used for your benefit – so you taking these drugs makes you nothing less than a hypocrite.

  26. chopsuey November 9, 2010 / 9:41 pm

    It’s strange how you have a link on the right-hand side of the page talking about how valuable vets are to animals, and how no one wants the veterinary practice to decline due to lower cat numbers, yet THIS page openly attacks aspiring vets, their facilities and their mentors & teachers.

    However, this is usually the way of left-wing advocates – no real clue about logic or reason – you don’t seem to care what you’re protesting against, as long as you’re angry about something.

  27. anon November 10, 2010 / 2:31 pm

    I was at UQ Vet school for 4 years and I DID see the way dogs were treated and they are treated well. That is not the argument here.
    The point is that if other vet schools have stopped the practice of live animal surgeries and can produce competent vets then surely UQ can too.

  28. Deathrowpets November 10, 2010 / 6:39 pm

    Cassie. You make some very good points. That is why deathrowpets came into existence – to work on all the reasons around un-regulated excess breeding, irresponsible animal ownership and poor pound / shelter strategies and rehoming that results in over 250,000 healthy animals being killed un-necessarily each year in Australia.

    Much is being done on these issues around the country and the matter is gaining much needed public awareness. We have to stop the over-breeding and we have to significantly improve return and rehoming practices at the majority of pounds and shelters, many of which are operating from very old animal control paradigms of the 19th century. There are many groups involved who have significant vested interests in maintaining the status quo – it’s clearly in their interests to have as many animals in the market as possible, and none of these groups pay a cent towards fixing the problem. The cost of animal control, maintaining pounds and rehoming or disposal of animals is borne by you and me via Council rates. It’s a neat system for those with vested interests isn’t it?

    The group running this protest are focussing on the provision of live animals for use in terminal surgery. That is their decision. There are many other groups and individuals working on the various factors that allow these animals to enter this terrible situation in the first place. Thanks you for your comment.

    Note: if you have an interest in this matter, please visit our website and read through past blog postings, as well as visiting Companion Animal News, which lists media articles on related subjects

  29. Deathrowpets November 10, 2010 / 7:04 pm

    Hi Hugo. THank you for your comments. Well, you may not want to think of yourself as seeing the world in Black and White, but thats is sure how you come across! You are right, this is my personal opinion, not a statement of fact. In exactly the same way as your view stated is your opinion, and not a statement of fact either.
    There are 2 issues. The first is the need to work on all the reasons that animals end up in pounds in the first place: unregulated breeding, puppy farms commercial operations and backyard breeders making a quick buck, easily accessible sales through pet shops and internet sites, irresponsible pet ownership, very poor rehoming practices by very many pounds and shelters, and very many people and groups making profit through the entire supply chain – at the expense of the “oversupply” animals that make their way through the system into pounds. In fact the only group that doesn’t make any money and actually pays money to “control” and “remove” the excess are the ratepayers at Councils – money and resources that could be better used elsewhere. This is all the first issue, and we and others around the country are working hard at it.

    Secondly, the “fact” (as you put it) that they spend their last weeks in a better environment, and that they are unaware that a surgical procedure is taking place doesn’t make it right. My opinion (…again) is that this argument is your own choice of a neat justification for the practice. That’s all it is. As you well know, medical, research, surgical and teaching techniques have moved on significantly over the past 100 years. It’s time for vets to develop modern and more appropriate teaching techniques. Lest you think me ignorant of the subject, I am surrounded by a family of doctors, a university professor surgeon, and a dentist. These professions have found ways to teach new medics without working on live patients – they learn on cadavers if I’m not mistaken and surgey under close expert supervision. Why should veterinary teaching be any different? The fact that “these animals are there anyway” is no excuse for the practice.

  30. Deathrowpets November 10, 2010 / 7:31 pm

    Thank you for your comment Rob. I was unaware that UQ actively works to rehome animals from the pound that can be rehomed. I will look into that to learn more.

    Nearly every comment on this blog from the university side makes the point that :

    The animals are going to die anyway…..
    They all have a fabulous lifestyle at the Uni that enhances their lives…..
    It’s irresponsible pet owners that should be targetted…
    We can’t do our training without it.

    These are all non-arguments, and are just easy justifications for the practice.

    You all probably even seriously believe it! That is the scary bit.

    I’m sure most students will know that there is an un-regulated and un-managed supply chain of animals all the way through from a variety of breeding sources..all the way through to …..killing off the excess animals in pounds and shelters. ( by the way, the fact that “as occurs at any RSPCA Shelter” doesnt give this any legitimacy whatsoever, as it’s now quite well known that various RSPCA’s around the country have got a seriously long way to go in improving their approaches and abilities to rehome more animals. You wouldnt be holding up (some of ) the RSPCA’s as a serious yardstick if you knew what many in animal welfare know).

    There are very few vets working on these factors that create an excess of animals. Most are too busy just doing good vet work for our animals. It’s the associations that are the problem. In fact the AVA has been quite remarkable in its lack of serious activity to curb the problem ( well, the AVA management wouldnt have their jobs for long if they cut back on the numbers of animals in the market and impacted on vet jobs, would they?).

    The fact that “the animals are there anyway, that they are lovingly looked after and that they would be killed anyway” is just not an intelligent reason. Sorry.

    Finally, I have been attended to by many doctors over the years and had my share of surgical proceedures – yet strangely enough NONE of the doctors concerned trained on live people that they then killed! ( at least I hope not!). We use vets a lot for our dogs, and have done so for 15 years – I’d be more than happy to take them to a vet who was professionally trained on animals that they didn’t have to kill as part of the teaching process. Why wouldn’t I? You are implying that if a vet wasn’t trained on animals that they then killed, that they wouldnt be properly trained? What kind of an argument is that?

    Anyway, thanks for the opportunity for the debate. I wish you well in your vet career.

  31. Deathrowpets November 10, 2010 / 7:39 pm

    Thank you Confused for taking the time to comment. Please see my response to Rob’s comment above which answers your points.

  32. Deathrowpets November 10, 2010 / 8:09 pm

    Hi There. Thank you for your comments. I’ve made my views clear in replies to comments above this one.

    One point I will respond to here is your comment about the use of medicines. I don’t thank that using drugs (that were tested upon animals) makes a person a hypocrite. You’re probbaly aware that there is a growing conscienceness about animals as feeling sentient beings, that just didn’t exist 50 years ago. Today, we have the chooks in cages issue, the pigs in sow stalls movement ( about to be banned in Tasmania), increasing numbers of vegetarians on ethical grounds, increasing campaigns against cruelty towards animals etc, etc etc and of course we have a growing movement against the use of animals in research and testing. It may have been necessary years ago, but research techniques have moved on and it’s less necessary today. hOpefully one day it will dissapear altogther, but until then, that’s the way it’s been. It doesn’t make it right.

    Thank you

  33. Sam November 10, 2010 / 8:15 pm

    I find this site very disappointing. Everyday hundreds of animals are abandoned and left at animal shelters, on the side of the road, or worse yet, inhumanely killed by irresponsible owners and people who never deserved the honour of owning a pet in the first place. We watch TV shows like ‘Animal Rescue’ that show us just some of of the things that people in the RSPCA deal with every day. People who don’t feed their animals, people who commit cruelty against their pets and much much MUCH worse.
    There are stories of young children putting kittens in bags and sinking them in rivers, people throwing rocks at dogs, and not to mention the greyhound industry! Are you guys aware of just how many greyhounds are being abused and wrongfully treated everyday? go to a greyhound racing track or breeder farm, i dare you. Aside from the fact that they don’t administer prophylactic treatment for heartworm in their dogs, the majority of these animals have very severe and debilitating skin conditions, have barely any body fat, and have mental scars for the rest of their life. i have a friend who adopts her dogs from a greyhound rehoming society down south, and when she first got her dog he didn’t even know how to play with a ball. he had had no social interaction, nor any idea of social bonding. The greyhound industry is a cruel and desolate society, that are happy to let their dogs slowly die from congestive heart failure, rather than risk their dog losing a race based on some stupid wives tale.

    So what i want to know is, why do you try to hard to bring down a vet school, when there are greater acts of cruelty occurring all over australia. why do you not care about those? I am all in favour of supporting a good cause, but in this case i strongly believe you are barking up the wrong tree.
    Why don’t you protest against irresponsible owners that allow their pets to roam the neighbourhoods killing native wildlife and getting pregnant. These people are the ones that abandon a litter of puppies or kittens on the doors of an animal shelter at 5am in the morning in hope of not being seen. Yet, they still don’t get their pets desexed.
    why don’t you care that people are breeding their animals to be viscous guard dogs that eventually attack a child and then get euthenaised due to owner stupidity. There wouldn’t be half as many dogs or cats in the RSPCA and similar animal shelters if owners would take responsibility for their pets. I have two cats, and from day one i have always taken correct responsibility in every situation. I have them desexed, microchipped, vaccinated, wormed, de-flea’d. I don’t allow them to roam outside in order to protect native wildlife, and also for their own safety around roads. I’ve never been the cause of an animal being abandoned at a shelter. YET, there are people that don’t care.

    Rather than attacking the end of the line of animal problems, why not start at the begginning. start with bad owners. Start with reducing the number of animals that end up at these shelters. Attacking UQ and the RSPCA is like blaming the radiation therapist when you get diagnosed with cancer, not admitting that you were the one that went out in the sun without sunscreen over and over again. GO TO THE SOURCE, the begginning.

    UQ acacdemic staff actively do research and community awareness into desexing animals at a young age in order to reduce the number of abandoned animals. what are you doing? how can you insult this university that takes all the comments you people spread, and yet all you are doing is grasping at straws for a cause, and not finding a real cause.

    wake up guys, find the real enemy here. It’s not UQ, it’s not the RSPCA or brisbane/caboolture/Ipswich city council. It’s everyone around. it’s your friends, it’s your neighbours, its the guy two blocks over with 4 dogs and no permit.
    Start somewhere close to home and make a real difference. I beg you, do it for the animals sake, and not just to get on TV

  34. Deathrowpets November 10, 2010 / 8:41 pm

    Hi Sam. As some of the others below, you make very good points. The rally under discussion is not a rally organised by Deathrowpets, although we clearly support it, as we do any event that raises awarness in the public of what goes on with animals (that many groups or organisations would like to be kept quiet). Others are going on, and we support them all.

    If you go through our website and blog postings, you will see that we report upon, make public and comment upon very many facets of the overall problem that you describe above. We are across much of what is going on with the cat/dog overpopulation issue across the whole country.

    The fact that we in Australia permit the killing of over 250,000 healthy animals is a national disgrace that we should all be ashamed of. We kill in Australia per head of population FOUR TIMES more than the United Kingdom. We have to wonder why that is. We are truely not a nation of animal lovers, as some would make out.

    I am confident that we, and many others like us are starting to make a difference, and I woud encourage you to keep up todate with developments and news through our information updates and blog postings. The No Kill movement is the best chance that the animals have. Please get involved yourself – we would welcome your involvement. Thank you.

    Thank you

  35. Nonhuman Rescue Ops November 10, 2010 / 9:15 pm

    Hi Sam.
    Nonhuman Rescue Ops cares about all kinds of issues but it is impossible to take on all. We are actually running an ongoing campaign that opposes greyhound racing Our last campaign involved obtaining thousands of signatures. highlighting public opposition to the construction of a greyhound track in Logan.
    Furthermore, we advocate for cruelty-free lifestyle changes (such as veganism) and am equally passionate about pet overpopulation issues, breed specific legislation, and attitudes toward so-called ‘feral’ animals (along with unnecessary eradication measures).
    Moreover, the public cannot be blamed solely for the all these issues. There is SOOOO much more that can be done at the institutional level (where the funds are!) to help manage such problems.

  36. Deathrowpets November 10, 2010 / 10:03 pm

    Sally what is the point of giving a dog a healthcheck, only then to kill it? What is not cruel about killing a dog?? Doctors learn about anaesthetics without killing the patient..don’t they? How’s it different for animals?

  37. Deathrowpets November 10, 2010 / 10:08 pm

    Hi Kate, neither can I.

    Maybe vets shouldn’t operate on a dog straight out of university. Maybe there are better ways of training vets. MAybe there are diffeent ways of training vets. Maybe the vets school could work with the Pounds to achieve No Kill in the community. I would be more than happy for a vet to operate on my dog ..provided the vet was properly trained, and that doesnt necessarily mean in the University.

  38. Hugo November 11, 2010 / 4:55 pm

    Quote Deathrowpets: “Sally what is the point of giving a dog a healthcheck, only then to kill it? What is not CRUEL about killing a dog?? Doctors learn about anaesthetics without killing the patient..don’t they? How’s it different for animals?”

    Dictionary Definition: Cruel – “Causing pain or suffering.”

    Anaesthesia – “Insensitivity to pain”

    My point here is that you are perfectly entitled to your opinion Deathrowpets, but please don’t say that what we are doing is “cruel”.


  39. NHRO November 11, 2010 / 5:12 pm

    May I correct then.

    Rather than using the word cruel, maybe the word should be:
    Unethical, Immoral, Murderous, Destructive, Violent, etc etc…

  40. Rob November 11, 2010 / 6:51 pm

    Firstly, you were “unaware that UQ actively works to rehome animals from the pound that can be rehomed” and you “will look into that to learn more”? Well I would have hoped you had looked into it before bringing forth these accusations.

    Secondly from your comments that our argument is that “Nearly every comment on this blog from the university side makes the point that” :

    – “The animals are going to die anyway”…..and here are being a second chance where possible, and if they are euthenased there bodies are not wasted.
    -“They all have a fabulous lifestyle at the Uni that enhances their lives”…..true, but more or less stated to convey that they are not in anyway mistreated and cover our behinds from any other accusations.
    -“It’s irresponsible pet owners that should be targetted”…Naturally true, but not trying to pass the buck, rather questioning your motives in linking us to the problem created by them
    -“We can’t do our training without it”…I’m sure under educated people have seen alternate training elsewhere but it is out steadfast belief that this is less effective than learning on the real animal. Furthermore, while medical doctors can learn in private surgeries the same funding opportunites do not exist in our degree while they get paid during their residency. Pets often come in as a lower priority in peoples budget (vet practices are commonly slower after the festive season just like a retail business) and if we were to get paid through a residency = fee increase = lower business etc.

    So yes, you can bet your bottom dollar I “seriously believe it” The scary bit is people who have no experience trying to wade into this debate, or being recruited to join this cause because they don’t know better.

    As for “an un-regulated and un-managed supply chain of animals all the way through from a variety of breeding sources..all the way through to …..killing off the excess animals in pounds and shelters” just sounds like a simplistic conspiracy theory. I’d like to remind you we don’t pay for these animals but that is probably just me missing your point.

    Then there was something about the RSPCA being evil. I don’t know anything about what some welfare organisations know so I can’t produce an opinion but I’d imagine we’d be a whole lot worse off without them.

    Regarding the AVA, please understand that it caters to much more than small animal veterinarians, I myself am the AVA Student Representative for Public Health and let me you I can’t recall ever discussing how to keep the supply of animals up to keep vets in work.

    I’m sorry to find you can’t see any “intelligence” in my argument over using these animals for teaching but instead perhaps try using some logic.

  41. Knowledgable November 11, 2010 / 7:15 pm

    The fact you think the AVA is not doing enough about the problem so they can stay in work is complete rubbish and proof of the fact you aren’t as intelligent as you think you are… The AVA doesn’t get paid for every time a pound dog is put to sleep, they don’t get any money at all for any animal unless it is owned by someone willing to pay. A decrease in excess UNOWNED pets will have no impact whatsoever on the AVA’s financial position – what a ridiculous argument.

    How could you possibly believe that using medicines etc that were developed FROM animal testing is not hypocritical? Go to anybody on the street and ask them this: “If a person wants all teaching and research animals banned, but is happy to use products gained from teaching and research animals even though it was 50 years ago.. does that make them a hypocrite?” Of course it does.

    Let’s keep using teaching and research animals (given that they must pass animal ethic committees to be used) so people and animals in the future can gain from their sacrifice.

    How could you say our arguments are opinion and justification for the practice?

    “The animals will die anyway”: yes they will. FACT: there are 1000a of ‘excess’ animals put to sleep every year. So should we just throw their bodies in the bin or should we try and rehome them again, then use them to teach future veterinarians? As long as there is an excess of animals it is not wrong to use animals that are bound for euthanasia.. your point would be valid if dogs who were going to be romhed were to be used, or if dogs were bred for this purpose – but that isn’t the case and your argument hasn’t got a leg to stand on.

    And yes many universities do turn out vets – just the same as you could technically be a mechanic without working on a car, or being a lawyer without doing a case before graduation or even flying a plane! The fact is not that we cannot be vets without it, but the quality of our education that is at stake. UQ grads are better vets surgically than any other university.

    “It’s irresponsible pet owners who should be targeted”: of course it is! If there was no excess of animals there would be no terminal surgeries. The reason people like to focus on the university’s terminal surgery is because it is EASY and it makes them look good if they win (which they have by bullying most other unis out of it). It’s way too hard for groups to make an impact on the world and the public so they target unis and distort the truth, use words like “experiment” and “murder” and when some ill-informed official who listens to their word-vomit changes a law to decrease the education of students they all put on big grins and high five each other for stopping the horror, all the while ignoring the continuous stream of dogs still being put to death (except this time, without a second chance)

  42. NHRO November 11, 2010 / 8:20 pm

    Dear Knowledgable,

    A few points:
    “A decrease in excess UNOWNED pets will have no impact whatsoever on the AVA’s financial position” Of course it will. It’s cheaper to use and exploit homeless pets than it is to incorporate alternative methods and provide internships to students.

    “How could you possibly believe that using medicines etc that were developed FROM animal testing is not hypocritical?” We don’t have control over what happened say 50 years ago, but presently we can certainly all refuse to purchase products that are not tested on animals. I do.

    “The animals will die anyway”: yes they will. FACT.
    Not Fact. This is a justification. This needs to be rephrased: “The animals will be intentionally killed because noone is willing to fund the rehoming and rehabilitation of ‘excess’ pets” Didn’t UQ vet school receive a $100m upgrade recently? I wonder what your thoughts are on the human overpopulation issue? Maybe we should get a bunch of homeless people or persons with psychological/medical issues together and use them as tools in medical research? This has happened in the past – surely incorporating this into medical school curriculum would produce better surgeons!

    “As long as there is an excess of animals it is not wrong to use animals that are bound for euthanasia” That’s right – USE. Who gave you, or anyone else, the power to decide the fate of a sentient being?

    “The fact is not that we cannot be vets without it, but the quality of our education that is at stake” What about doctors, psychologists…? Why not supervised internships? There is no need for the killing.

    “It’s irresponsible pet owners who should be targeted”: of course it is! If there was no excess of animals there would be no terminal surgeries.
    It is not just irresponsible pet owners. UQ as well as many other institutions (government, council) have a duty of care towards its public to ensure that these issues don’t arise. Yes there are some irresponsible people. But if pet shops were banned from selling pets, if breeders were tightly regulated (as well as advertisements in the newspaper), if more of our TAX money was put into bigger shelters and better employees, if the racing industry was shut down, etc etc, you would find that “irresponsible pet owners” would only contribute a portion.

    And word-vomit. I’ll vomit all I like – I’m entitled to my own values, beliefs, and opinions. But at least I have a heart…

  43. Anothervetstudent November 11, 2010 / 8:44 pm


    You seems to have a lot of maybes…
    “Maybe vets shouldn’t operate on a dog straight out of university. Maybe there are better ways of training vets. MAybe there are diffeent ways of training vets. Maybe the vets school could work with the Pounds to achieve No Kill in the community.”
    Yet I am still to hear one suggestion as to appropriate alternatives (i.e. teaching methods, where the funding will come from to achieve a no kill in the community). You seem quite quick to accuse without getting your facts straight first.

    I ask you:
    1. Have you attended UQ Gatton and seen the facilities that these dogs are being housed in?
    2. Have you spoken to any of the nurses/doctors in the vet school to better understand the procedures that are undertaken in these teaching surgeries?
    3. Are you aware that after vet students almost kill themselves trying the get into vet school and then spend 5 years studying, our starting salary is $35,000 (in other words, we’re not in it for the money!!)?
    4. Have you done any research into support provided for new graduates (in regards to your remarks about supervised teaching post-graduation)?

    This rally is nothing more than a temper tantrum, fuelled by weak accusations made by uneducated persons. Why don’t you use your resources to target/attempt to educate the wider public on responsible pet ownership?

  44. NHRO November 11, 2010 / 8:56 pm

    I have provided links in previous comments that highlight alternatives.
    The conditions at UQ? That is beside the point. The issue here is that these pets are obtained from a shelter (that is funded through taxpayer money) and used at a well-funded university for practice. These are sentient beings who have an interest in their lives not to be hurt, abused, used, and exploited. These are living beings who are killed JUST for you to achieve your career goals.

    I find it funny that many commentors have referred to educational status. Honestly, how do you know what our qualifications and experience entail? And how is it relevant?

  45. NHRO November 11, 2010 / 9:47 pm

    in reply to knowledgeable comment, your quote “UQ grads are better vets surgically than any other university”
    i wonder what other student vets now practicing vets taught at other universities throughout our country would think when they read this comment.

  46. anon November 11, 2010 / 10:13 pm

    Dear Knowledgeable,

    NO WAY UQ grads are better than grads from Murdoch or Melbourne (or other) universities! ARE YOU SERIOUS???? UQ vet school has barely managed to maintain its accreditation for God’s sake! Don’t make me laugh.
    I do believe some of the current fifth years were in danger of graduating without being able to practice because the Vet School was about to lose its accreditation (I was at the meetings so don’t tell me thats not true).

  47. Robert November 11, 2010 / 10:27 pm

    To claim that other universities have stopped terminal surgeries, therefore all universities should, is an argumentum ad populum (and thus bears no weight). The claim that UQ graduates are more sought after for their surgery skills is a bare assertion fallacy – there needs to be evidence for this. Calling the practice of terminal surgery “murder”, “experimentation” and the like, is an equivocation fallacy.

    Asking who has the right to decide the fate of a sentient being is a fallacious form of argument known as “begging the question”. It simultaneously creates a false dichotomy, suggesting that choosing to euthanise an animal or not choosing to euthanise an animal is essentially the difference between deciding its fate and not deciding its fate. In reality there are many ways in which one can decide the fate of the animal. The minute you bring an animal into your care, you have decided its fate, so it is unclear how this argument is meant to persuade.

    If instead you were suggesting that no one should have the right to decide whether an animal lives or dies, then this is a wider issue than terminal surgeries. Vets regularly make this decision, and it relies on the vet’s assessment of the animal’s quality of life. The terminal surgery situation is no different.

    I could go on criticising techniques, but I highlight these few to suggest that perhaps the track has been lost.

    The proposed outcome of this rally is to stop terminal surgeries. If it succeeds, the university will not be able to train its veterinarians using terminal surgeries. What impact this has on vet students is largely irrelevent for the time being.

    As it stands currently, what this means for the dogs is that they will be euthanised in the pound, and not at UQ.

    It is my understanding therefore, that this argument/rally is essentially saying that dogs’ experiences between the pound and the university, and while at the university, are sufficiently reprehensible that the practice should be stopped.

    If you cannot demonstrate that the dogs are sufficiently traumatised by their treatment between leaving the pound, until they are euthanised, then on what grounds can you demand the end of terminal surgeries? By the sounds of the arguments, this is very much assumed a priori.

    Just doing a bit of research, it seems that the “experiments” that animals are involved in at UQ are “feed trials”. For dog food. While technically you could consider this “animal experimentation” you are kidding yourself if you think that human food isn’t first trialled on humans before it goes to sale.

    Similarly, the vast majority of our medical advances are still due to research on mice, rats and other laboratory animals. The developments on these animals then progress to human trials, so to say that animals are not used to develop human medicine is false. To suggest that humans are not “experimented on” is also false.

    In summary;
    The negative effects on the dog between the pound and the university need to be established, then quantified. The dog dies either way, so one needs to prove that going to UQ is worse for the dog overall than dying in the pound. Conversely, UQ might do well to dedicate a research project to the welfare of the dogs between the pound and the university’s surgeries.

    Vet students need to stop thinking their learning outcomes are compelling evidence. They are only compelling once it is established that the welfare of the dogs is satisfactory. I’ve no doubt it is better to learn on a live animal, but that ceases to be the issue when there are alternatives. Conversely, there seems to be no reason to not access live animals if they are available, and minimal welfare impact can be demonstrated.

    The best way to stop the universities using dogs would be to dry up the supply of dogs, not merely disrupt the universities access to them. This has already been well discussed, however.

    More evidence, less emotional arguments and no logical fallacies.

  48. anon November 11, 2010 / 11:41 pm

    Hey Robert,

    You wrote:
    “The negative effects on the dog between the pound and the university need to be established, then quantified. The dog dies either way, so one needs to prove that going to UQ is worse for the dog overall than dying in the pound.”

    I don’t think the protest is about whether the dogs are better off being put down at the pound or at UQ.
    It is a protest based on the moral question of should live animal surgery pracs which end with the animal being destroyed, take place?
    It doesn’t really matter if the dogs don’t suffer any adverse effects on going from the pound to the vet school. Its about the vet school thinking it is morally OK to perform surgeries on animals (unwanted or otherwise) and then kill them. Kind of a contradiction of what the Veterinary career is all about.

  49. Hugo November 12, 2010 / 12:50 am

    Just a note to the references regarding taking the high road and avoiding products that have been tested on animals, particularly:

    Quote “We don’t have control over what happened say 50 years ago, but presently we can certainly all refuse to purchase products that are not tested on animals. I do. ”

    Whilst this may thankfully true regarding products such as perfume or makeup, you are kidding yourself if you think this is the case regarding pharmaceuticals, or other everyday products.

    The LD50 or median lethal dose of any pharmacologically active agent must be determined before a product can be registered for use in people (or animals). It is a useful yet flawed (as I’m sure you’d soon point out) method for gaining some indication of what would be toxic to humans, but it is completely based upon animal models (usually rats or mice). While you may find this reprehensible, it is a fact, and as pointed out earlier you certainly are a HYPOCRITE regarding this point. So maybe next time you go to accept a pharmacologically active substance, be it Paracetamol, Vitamin C, the birth control pill, your morning coffee or even sugar, think of all the poor rats and mice that suffered at your expense.

    I’m well aware that this isn’t the perfect way of testing a drug’s toxic effects, but I don’t see anyone putting there hand up to volunteer, and at present we don’t have a better solution.

    I know that this is highly off topic and has little to do with the point of the page, but I thought next time you might like to do some research before getting on your apparent moral high horse.


  50. Robert November 12, 2010 / 1:20 am


    Your argument is vague, so I hope you can clarify it for me.

    Surely the very process of determining the morality of the issue should directly involve the welfare of the animals that the issue is revolving around.

    If not, to what else are we making an appeal? To our own “gut feeling” of what is right or wrong? If you have another objective measurement that we should be using to determine the morality of the practice, then please present it.

    You seem to be suggesting that the vet school is telling students that they need to kill animals to be competent vets. It seems more like they are saying they have a chance to provide an excellent learning opportunity should the students want it. As alluded to previously, it is “finding some good in a bad situation”.

    If it is truly only a moral issue, and no harm is done to the animals, surely this then becomes a personal decision for the individuals performing the surgery. What right do any of us have to force our morals on someone else?

    I could understand the argument when it was about animal welfare, but now you’ve lost me. It seems you wish to deprive students of training opportunities because you feel uncomfortable about the way in which it is done, and not for any tangible reason.

    If you genuinely seen a contradiction between mastering a surgical technique on an anaethetised animal before euthanising it (because it has no or limited quality of life post operation – whether it’s because it has no home, or a terminal disease) and becoming a Veterinarian, then I think you are bending over backwards to justify your emotional response.

  51. Anothervetstudent November 12, 2010 / 7:48 am


    In response to your earlier comments;

    “These are sentient beings who have an interest in their lives not to be hurt, abused, used, and exploited. These are living beings who are killed JUST for you to achieve your career goals.”

    1. These animals feel no pain whatsoever during these procedures, so you can hardly call them hurt.
    2. These animals were not killed “JUST” for us – as mentioned numberous times previously, they have undergone two health/behavioural assessments at two different professional institutions (RSPCA then UQ) and failed both – they were going to be euthanised despite the surgery (they are not used or exploited). UQ merely extends their life, in excellent facilities (you can hardly call them abused). In addition, the last thing they see is 2-4 friendly faces cuddling, petting and giving them lots of love (this would not happen at the RSPCA).

    When I mentioned uneducated persons, I am not referring to your tertiary education, I refer to your education about this matter, the facts, not just your personal opinions. Unfortunately, it’s a sad fact of life that your own beliefs won’t get you far unless you have solid arguments with undisputed facts to back them up.

  52. Helen Marston November 12, 2010 / 11:27 am

    Hi Noob,

    A conservative conclusion based on [several] studies is that alternative methods are pedagogically equivalent to traditional animal dissections. (1)

    Studies of veterinary students were reviewed comparing learning outcomes generated by non-harmful teaching methods with those achieved by harmful animal use. Of eleven published from 1989 to 2006, nine assessed surgical training – historically the discipline involving greatest harmful animal use. 45.5% (5/11) demonstrated superior learning outcomes using more humane alternatives. Another 45.5% (5/11) demonstrated equivalent learning outcomes, and 9.1% (1/11) demonstrated inferior learning outcomes.(2)

    Of the eleven studies comparing veterinary student learning outcomes, eight were more than a decade old (published prior to 1996). Hence, a considerable number of these studies examined humane teaching methods such as films, interactive video discs, and early compute simulations which have been largely superseded by more advanced alternatives, particularly in the field of computer simulations.(3)

    A similar comparison illustrated additional benefits of humane teaching methods in veterinary education, including time and cost savings, enhanced potential for customization and repeatability of the learning exercise, increased student confidence and satisfaction, increased compliance with animal use legislation, elimination of objections to the use of purpose killed animals, and integration of clinical perspectives and ethics early in the curriculum. The evidence demonstrates that veterinary educators can best serve their students and animals, while minimizing financial and time burdens, by introducing well designed teaching methods not reliant on harmful animal use.(4)

    All curricular design involves combining tools from many different sources, and alternatives will almost always be used in combination to meet teaching objectives and to achieve a comprehensive learning experience. Nerve-muscle physiology practicals may combine computer simulation with student self-experimentation, and surgery courses may offer a range of different simulators in conjunction with clinical apprenticeship.(5)

    Such an investment in alternatives will benefit all the groups concerned – not only the students, the teachers, and the animals, but also the veterinary profession and society in general. These students will have not, during their education, gone against the creed of ‘first, do no harm’.(6)

    Balcombe, J. Dissection: Case for Alternatives.
    2 Knight, Andrew, The Effectiveness of Humane Teaching Methods in Veterinary Education, ALTEX 24. 2/07
    3 Ibid
    4 Knight, Andrew, The Effectiveness of Humane Teaching Methods in Veterinary Education, ALTEX 24. 2/07
    5 Siri, Jukes, Nick, Towards a humane veterinary education, JVME 32(4) 2005 AAVMC
    6 Ibid

  53. Lisa Wolfenden November 12, 2010 / 4:16 pm

    What worries me most about this debate is the consistent referral to ‘severe behavioural problems’ that can result in an animals demise and thus a supposed legitimate reason for using them for animal experimentation and surgical practice.

    Dogs which have attacked and harmed either animal or human are usually put down well before they hit the pound system. This kind of aggression is the main ‘severe behavioural problem’ that would negate an animal being re-homed.

    Other so called behavioural problems such as separation anxiety, barking, fear reactions to either children, men, noises, the list goes on, shyness, etc., are all workable ‘behavioural problems’.

    The real ‘problem’ is that neither the pound system nor any University has the know how to diagnose, the time to treat, nor the finances to work on these problems, thus resulting in the massive euthenasia rate that our country has of healthy animals. It just makes the figures sound better that we put them down due to inability to re-home due to ‘sever behavioural problems’.

    Most dogs behavioural problems are due to mismanagement and inappropriate ownership in the first place. It’s bad enough that so many pets end up in pounds and rescue centres having minor problems turned into major ones, but to inter these poor misunderstood animals to scientific experiments and vivisection in any name, be it educational or not, is a disgrace and a sad indictment on our disposable attitude to our companion animals.

  54. Natalie November 13, 2010 / 9:48 pm

    After receiving a few emails, I thought it would be best to say this publicly. I do not personally own statistics about animals being rehomed from UQ facilities. Here, however is our adoption website. The first link is the animals that are currently up for adoption, the second the animals that have been rehomed through UQ.

    I believe there are nearly 200 animals that have been rehomed since the adoption program began?

    May I restate a few things,
    1) If animals are required to be euthanised (for whatever reason), it is much better this be done by qualified persons at UQ rather than the pounds – for one, I strongly doubt workers at the pound are properly qualified to euthanise an animal (there can be issues, eg collapsing veins, which makes it more likely the animal would be injected multiple times trying to find a vein – causing them A LOT OF PAIN)
    2) Not all animals brought to UQ are used in terminal pracs – many are involved in enducating vet and vet tech students in the means of handling and behaviours. These animals are also involved in the adoption/foster care program held by UQ.
    3) Vets do not earn as much as doctors or dentists etc. The human medical industry has a lot more priority than the animal industry. Whilst this is not a positive fact, it confirms that these students are not in it for the money. Of course there would be a mass riot if humans were used for terminal medical purposes, and its unfortunate that animals do not hold the same priority in reality.
    4) If this rally is successful and you do stop the involvement of pound animals in terminal pracs at UQ, the animals are then to be euthanised by an unqualified kennel hand, in the appalling conditions pounds are usually subject to, then tossed out into bins. No offence to the councils, but I’m pretty sure if UQ spent 100M on new veterinary teaching facilties, they appreciate the lives of animals a lot more.
    5) Animals are still being used for research purposes in HUMAN medicine. These surgies by UQ are for the benefit of ANIMALS, there is no benefit for humankind whatsoever, maybe you should take on that issue as well?
    6) Don’t know if anyone has mentioned this, but UQ has an extemely tough ethics group in their faculty. You would think that if there was harm caused to an animal in these surgeries, they would be cancelling it asap.
    7) Again, if UQ were to stop live animals in terminal pracs, it still would not benefit the animals. It would increase populations in pounds because some people JUST DON’T CARE. To some people, animals are just objects, like a car or a new toy. You are never going to eradicate those people. Look at the amount of animal cruelty cases occuring in this world, yet many of those people get minimal sentences, whereas if you did that to a human, you would get life or close to.

    Furthermore, Do I see any of you standing up to adopt one or two homeless animals from a pound? Maybe take on some of the animals you are fighting for?
    Sure, if these surgeries are stopped there is still going to be the same problem. There is still going to be overpopulation in pounds and the euthanasia of many, many animals. This is not an issue caused by the university. They are merely trying to give this unfortunate outcome some sort of purpose, for the benefit of future animals, what are you doing?

  55. Robert November 13, 2010 / 10:23 pm

    A few more arguments have arisen rehashing what has already been said. The implication seems to be that scientific experimentation is always bad, even though evidence has been presented to the contrary.

    Two points.

    Terminal surgeries are not scientific experimentation. To label them as such is intentionally misleading. It has no bearing on whether the practice should be allowed or not. It’s a shock tactic, attempting to associate the practice of terminal surgeries with a buzzword that instils disgust in the average individual.

    Second point.

    Scientific experimentation on animals is a necessary part of Veterinary Science. Dog, Cat, Cow etc vaccines have all been tested on… you guessed it…. dogs, cats, cows etc. To suggest that scientific experiments are always wrong, is again an exercise in misunderstanding, or worse, ignorance. It is not the experiments that are wrong, it is the way in which they are done that determines whether they are suitable and/or justifiable.

    Which brings us back to the original point. What are the verifiable, tangible grounds on which one calls for an end to terminal surgeries?

    Currently the argument seems to be “I don’t like it”. Fine, but where is the evidence that shows stopping the practice will be beneficial to anything but your peace of mind? Get something solid together and you will put an end to the surgeries very quickly.

    I was thinking there’d be data on handling stress or data showing poor graduate skills or something… but very little has been presented, nor can I find any. The most scientific thing shown was data supporting the alternatives to terminal surgeries. Which is all well and good, but it doesn’t address the actual issue, which is finding a reason not to conduct terminal surgeries, in the presence of an over abundance of dogs destined for euthanasia. An alternative option in itself is not justification for doing something.

    Not feeling comfortable with something is grounds for you not to do it, not to stop anyone from doing it ever.

  56. Minia November 14, 2010 / 7:26 pm

    Firstly to say that vet students could learn surgery skills through watching a video is absurd. It can be likened to teaching learners to drive a manual car through watching a video and then letting them out onto the streets on their own. I would like to see any of you let your children do this!

    When graduate veterinary students go out into the workforce they don’t always have someone there to hold their hand and guide them through procedures. They need to have already developed as many skills as they can to deal with any situation that arises.

    Have you ever thought of the life of the animal that a vet performs their first ever surgery on without ever having touched a live animal before? Your argument is devaluing the life of that animal.

    And the argument – maybe vets shouldn’t operate on a dog in their first years out of uni. Well they have to perform their first surgery at some stage. Postponing this will not achieve anything.

  57. Minia November 14, 2010 / 7:59 pm

    Also I find it ridiculous that you seem to think that you, and not the RSPCA, have the interests of animals at heart. How dare you allude to malpractice that you have no evidence of. “You wouldnt be holding up (some of ) the RSPCA’s as a serious yardstick if you knew what many in animal welfare know).”…

    Have you ever actually visited a RSPCA shelter? Or is this just something that your “animal welfare” friends have told you? Have you ever actually talked to someone who works for the RSPCA? I know first hand that they are some of the most compassionate people you could ever know. Many of them are volunteers who dedicate their time to helping animals without receiving anything back themselves except this disgusting nonsense you decide to throw at them.

  58. Deathrowpets November 16, 2010 / 5:44 pm

    “Also I find it ridiculous that you seem to think that you, and not the RSPCA, have the interests of animals at heart. How dare you allude to malpractice that you have no evidence of. ”

    Minia, yes i have visited RSPCA premises and we are in regular contact with people who work or have worked in RSPCA’s around the country. I am a friend of the head of the RSPCA in ACT and we have regular dealings with other CEO’s, both positive and negative. We are a member of the RSPCA working commitee on Puppy Farms.

    How “I dare” is because we know a lot of what goes on in some of the State RSPCA’s that you don’t. Our policy is to support and praise the RSPCA where that support is warranted and call them to account where that is needed.

    I will send you privately a document that you will find most interesting. Would you like to know why 3 vet nurses and 2 vets and the PR Manager resigned from RSPCA WA last year? Interesting reading!

    What you perhaps don’t know is that each State RSPCA is a seperate body and is not controlled by the National RSPCA. Think Fed gov and State govs. Some RSPCA’s are excellent, others need bringing to account. Happy to speak with you privately. Thank you for your comment.

  59. Deathrowpets November 16, 2010 / 9:04 pm

    Information for vet students at UQ, from Andrew Knight:

    At is my ALTEX 2007 paper.

    It includes a description of alternative surgical training.

    UK vets learn similarly to physicians – by observing, assisting with and then performing beneficial surgical procedures on real patients, under close supervision, during externships in private practices.

    These may also be of interest:

    Good luck w this!

    Andrew Knight

  60. Rob December 11, 2010 / 5:51 pm

    What a pathetic attempt to get the public on your side getting that article in the Courier Mail. I hope you all had the time to see the comments section and see that the general public are mostly too smart for you to pull the wool over their eyes, even with such a one sided slanderous piece of muck.

  61. NHRO December 11, 2010 / 10:05 pm

    I think it is truly sad that people such as yourself Rob have to resort to personal attacks.

  62. Rob December 16, 2010 / 9:08 am

    Personal attack? Try to keep up, merely attacking your propaganda. It was so strange that they could find you Simone Hewitt / NHRO / Kisha whichever alias you prefer for comment but no current UQ vet students. If however, you are trying to draw me into some kind of argument outside of this topic I’m sorry to disappoint but I’m not interested in discussing anything with you except to correct your ill-informed misplaced attack on the UQ Vet School.

  63. Simone NHRO December 16, 2010 / 10:10 am

    Again more defensive comments from vet students or supporters of this outdated and inhumane method of teaching. New building, old teaching methods. And humane is not defined by patting a dog, giving it a cuddle and then killing it. A terminal lab is terminal no matter if it has new or old walls with fresh paint.

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