The potential of humane teaching methods within veterinary and other biomedical education

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Animal use resulting in harm or death has historically played an integral role in veterinary education, in disciplines such as surgery, physiology, biochemistry, anatomy, pharmacology, and parasitology. However, the last decade has seen a rapid increase in the availability of non-harmful alternatives, such as computer simulations, high quality videos, ‘ethically-sourced cadavers’ such as those from animals euthanized for medical reasons, preserved specimens, models and surgical simulators, non-invasive self-experimentation and supervised clinical experiences. However, veterinary students seeking to use such methods often face strong opposition from faculty members, who usually cite concerns about their teaching efficacy. Consequently, this presentation reviews educational studies comparing learning outcomes of veterinary students generated by non-harmful teaching methods with those achieved by harmful animal use.

Of eleven studies 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. 45.5% (5/11) demonstrated equivalent learning outcomes, and only one study (9.1%) demonstrated inferior learning outcomes using humane alternatives. Twenty nine additional studies in which comparison with harmful animal use did not occur illustrated other benefits of humane teaching methods in veterinary education, namely; time and cost savings, increased repeatability and flexibility of use, customization of the laboratory experience, more active learning, facilitation of autonomous and life-long learning, improved attitudes towards computers and alternatives to animal use, and increased employer perception of computer literacy.

The results indicate that veterinary educators can best serve their students and animals, while minimizing financial and time burdens upon their faculties, by introducing well-designed teaching methods not reliant upon harmful animal use.

Further info: www.HumaneLearning.info.

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  • Animal use resulting in harm or death has historically played an integral role in veterinary education, in disciplines such as surgery, physiology, biochemistry, anatomy, pharmacology and parasitology. However, in the last decade or two there has been a large increase in the availability of non-harmful alternatives…
  • 2011 from Tufts veterinary school, whom were expanding their cadaver donation program to include equine cadavers.
  • 2011 from Tufts veterinary school
  • University of Queensland. 2011: vet student Dr Bryony Dixon (whom also has a PhD in veterinary parasitology) placing a chest drain using an EMP cadaver donated to UQ (the other students used donated greyhounds under anaesthesia and these were then euthanased at the end of the practical). In 2011 she became one of the first UQ students to graduate without participating in harmful animal use.
  • University of Queensland, 2011: vet student Dr Bryony Dixon doing a CPR prac using a mannequin instead of a terminal surgery.
  • University of Queensland vet student Dr Bryony Dixon using a haptic bovine rectal palpation simulator at the Royal Veterinary College in 2008. Dr Sarah Baillie has designed haptic cow, equine colic and feline abdominal palpation simulators.
  • From a veterinary school in the Philippines
  • An important part of humane veterinary surgical courses worldwide are highly popular animal shelter sterilization programs, in which homeless animals are neutered by students under supervision and returned to shelters. The popularity of these programs stems in part from the fact that all parties benefit from them. The animals have their adoption rates increased by neutering, the numbers of unwanted animals killed due to uncontrolled breeding is decreased, the students gain invaluable experience at some of the most common procedures they will later perform in practice, and their vet school experiences the public relations benefits of providing a worthwhile community service.
  • In 2000 alternatives to the terminal surgical laboratories were offered to Andrew Knight and Michael Taylor. Andrew Knight was also offered an alternative to a recovery sheep abdominal surgery (rumenotomy): A non-recovery rumenotomy under general anaesthesia on a sheep being euthanased due to cancer.
    Observing terminal labs: We, and all other students, had to write case reports for these surgeries and anaesthetisations.
  • 12 terminal surgeries - abdominal and thoracic surgeries on young pigs, and orthopaedic surgeries on sheep.
    1 recovery abdominal surgery (rumenotomy) on a sheep.
  • When compared with ‘terminal’ (lethal) live animal use (the norm in veterinary surgical training), cadavers were considered the ‘humane’ option, because of their potential for ethical-sourcing.
  • Surgery and physiology are historically the disciplines that have resulted in the greatest harmful animal use during veterinary education. Disciplines other than surgery were poorly represented in studies of veterinary students.
    First year veterinary students learnt cardiovascular physiology principles more efficiently from interactive videodisc simulations than from live animal laboratories (Fawver et al., 1990).
    Interactive databases containing digital images, movies and sounds resulted in more active learning by veterinary microbiology students, greater autonomy, and increased ongoing learning in later years of the veterinary course and post-graduation (Whithear et al., 1994).
  • Veterinary students learning bovine rectal palpation skills via a haptic (virtual reality-based) teaching tool, the ‘Bovine Rectal Palpation Simulator,’ performed better when examining real cows for the first time than did traditionally-trained classmates (Baillie et al., 2005a, 2005b).
    Veterinary students learnt equine nasogastric intubation more effectively from a CD-ROM than from a live animal demonstration by an instructor. Students using the CD-ROM performed significantly better on a test of knowledge, were more confident, and were significantly quicker at successfully inserting a nasogastric tube into a live horse, than their traditionally instructed peers (Abutarbush et al. 2006).
  • Studies of non-surgical disciplines from non-veterinary faculties were abundant.
  • Includes both undergraduate and high school (biology) students
  • Hence, a considerable number of these studies examined humane teaching methods such as films, interactive video discs, and early computer simulations, which have been largely superseded by more advanced alternatives, particularly in the field of computer simulations. The laboratories these alternatives were designed to replace, such as animal dissections and live animal experimental or surgical laboratories, have, on the other hand, remained largely unaltered. It is a damning indictment of harmful animal use that even such relatively antiquated alternatives resulted in superior or equivalent learning outcomes in almost all cases. It is likely that comparative studies of modern alternative teaching methods would yield an even higher proportion of studies demonstrating superior learning outcomes when compared to harmful animal use.
  • Numbers: Despite the fact that less than one percent of American high school students will enter a career to which dissection is even remotely related, 75-80 % will dissect at least one animal before they leave school.
    According to preliminary results of a survey of 5,000 U.S. middle and high school biology teachers, 79 percent of teachers use dissection to teach biology.
    Partly because of the reluctance of animal dealers to divulge information to governmental agencies and animal protection organizations, it is impossible to precisely estimate the numbers of animals dissected in American schools and colleges, but a reasonable estimate is that close to six million vertebrates are dissected in U.S. high schools alone, in biology, anatomy, physiology and related subjects. More are dissected in colleges and universities. Many animals are also the subject of invasive or detrimental experiments or procedures while still alive, particularly in college or university level life and health science courses.
    (King, L. 2002. Biology teachers' attitudes to dissection and alternatives. Fourth World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, August 11-15, 2002, New Orleans, Louisiana: Proceedings. Alternatives Congress Trust: In Press.
    Orlans, B. 1993. In The Name of Science: Issues in Responsible Animal Experimentation. New York: Oxford University Press.)
    Sources: However, the vast majority of animals used in U.S. education are dissected, and the vast majority of these come from biological supply companies. These companies in turn source their animals primarily from Class B dealers (licensed animal brokers). The reluctance of dealers to divulge information limits knowledge of animal sources, however past investigations have revealed that Class B dealers have obtained their animals using a variety of legal and illegal methods, including from animal shelters, strays and "free to good home" ads.
  • Biol. supply companies: investigations of biological supply companies have revealed inhumane killing practices using overcrowded gas chambers, injection of still-living animals with formaldehyde-based preservatives, which is considered extremely inhumane, and numerous violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.
    Adverse environmental impacts: Frogs, for eg., constitute the most widely dissected species, being used by 73 % of teachers surveyed, and the large-scale sourcing of frogs for dissection is believed in some areas to be contributing to the worldwide decline—in some cases towards dangerously low levels—of frog populations.
    Humane alternatives to harmful animal use clearly result in the saving of a considerable number of lives, prevent animal suffering, and avoid adverse environmental impacts.
  • Harmful animal use can be so distracting to students distressed by it that any educational benefits of the exercises can be seriously compromised.
    E.g., in 1999, 370 veterinary students at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine were surveyed to ascertain the learning benefits they felt they had received from their first year physiology laboratories in which over 100 pigs, dogs, rats, and rabbits were killed annually. (Anonymous. Undated. Survey of University of Illinois veterinary students on animal use in education (October 1999). Accessed online at www.avar.org/u_illinois_survey on 26th Feb. 2002.)
  • Of the 295 respondents within the 370 students surveyed, 59 % said that they believed the non-survival animal physiology labs were not "worth the resources used". Only 20 percent felt they gained "great benefit" in their understanding of physiology from the laboratories.
    In 2000, all of these terminal physiology laboratories were removed from the University of Illinois curriculum.
    A similar survey conducted in 2001 at the Massey University Institute of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences in New Zealand yielded a comparable result, followed once again by the cancellation of the laboratories involved, and it is very likely that similar results would occur wherever students utilizing such terminal laboratory classes were surveyed.
  • Many of the policies of the NZVA were in line with or exceeded the guidelines developed by that country’s National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), and we used the more-readily available NAWAC guidelines to represent the NZVA’s positions in our survey.
  • The five animal-use practices considered were:
    so called “battery” cages for laying hens
    small crates and nutritionally-deficient diets for “veal” calves
    gestation crates for pregnant sows
    tail-docking of dogs
    Invasive animal use in scientific research and education
  • There was widespread and persistent public concern about many aspects of each of the five animal use practices, in all surveyed countries. Additionally, opinion polls have shown that a majority of citizens oppose several other modern farm husbandry practices, particularly the forced moulting, beak trimming and caging of laying hens.
    In contrast, many of these five animal use practices were not addressed clearly in the five veterinary associations’ positions. All of the veterinary associations either lacked positions on or were not categorically opposed to the close confinement of laying hens, pregnant sows and ‘veal’ calves, although the NZVA did recommend time limits on the use of sow gestation crates, and both the NZVA and the AVA recommended group, rather than individual, housing of ‘veal’ calves.
    The only practice to which the public and the associations appeared to share a common opposition was the cosmetic tail docking of dogs, although the AVMA did not take a firm stance against this. In the case of animal experimentation, both the general public and the veterinary profession appear to support experimentation for human medical research to some degree, although public opinion remains very critical.
  • The psychological impacts on impressionable young adults and teenagers of dissection or other harmful animal use in educational settings also provides grounds for concern.
    Rather than teaching respect for the intrinsic worth of animals' lives, the underlying message of such classes is clearly that animals may be used as disposable teaching tools, despite any verbal message to the contrary a teacher may give.
    Most at risk are those students who might naturally find the experience distressing. Studies have shown that students may suffer psychological trauma as a result of seeing themselves or others engaged in behavior they find ethically objectionable. Their cognitive abilities may become impaired, resulting in decreased learning. Some withdraw and lose interest in the sciences, and in fact those most commonly affected by such experiences are girls—yet the gender gap in the sciences is something we should be seeking to correct.
    The clear, progressive desensitization of veterinary students to animal suffering has been documented in several studies published in veterinary journals, and was a phenomenon I personally witnessed on a large scale as a direct result of dissection when I was a veterinary student.
    Refs:
    BBC News. Mar. 10th, 2000. Vets learn to be hard.
    Hellyer, P., Frederick, C., Lacy, M., Slaman, M., & Wagner, A. 1999. Attitudes of veterinary medical students, house officers, clinical faculty, and staff toward pain management in animals. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Vol. 214, No. 2, 238-244.
    Milgram, S. 1974. Obedience to authority: an experimental view. NY: Harper & Row. Cited on www.cultsock.ndirect.co.uk/MUHome/cshtml/socinf/obed.html. 1-3 (2001).
    Paul, E., & Podberscek, A. 2000. Veterinary education and students’ attitudes towards animal welfare. Veterinary Record. Vol. 146, No. 10, 269-72.
    Self, D., Schrader, D., Baldwin, S., Root, S., Wolinsky, F., & Shadduck, J. 1991. Study of the influence of veterinary medical education on the moral development of veterinary students. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Vol. 198, No. 5,.782-787.
    Thomas, Horton, Lippencott & Drabman. 1977. Desensitization to real-life aggression as a function of exposure to television violence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 35: 450.
    Tyhurst, J. 1951. Individual reactions to community disaster. American Journal of Psychiatry. 10: 746-69.
  • International human rights legislation and the laws of several countries support the rights of students to conscientiously object to participating in activities that run counter to their beliefs. This is recognized as being an essential feature of a democratic society.
    Within the U.S. numerous students have successfully used the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to sue their schools or universities when penalized for refusing to engage in harmful animal use. To my knowledge no student who has exercised their constitutional rights has lost.
    Dr. Rubaii successfully graduated from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1995. She sued the school for $95,000 after failing physiology because she refused to perform a required experiment at Colorado which involved giving a lethal injection to an anesthetized dog, and being forced to retake it at the Creighton University School of Medicine in Nebraska, where harmful animal use was not required.
    States: California, 1988 (state law); California Education Code 51540; Florida, 1985 (state law); Illinois, 2000 (state law); Louisiana, 1992 (state resolution); Maine, 1989 (state department of educational policy); New York, 1994 (state law); Pennsylvania, 1992 (state law); Rhode Island, 1997 (state law).
    To date, no such law covers college undergraduates. In some cases, teachers may still require dissections if they believe no adequate alternatives exist.
    Aside from legal liability and financial damages, considerable adverse publicity has often been the result for schools and colleges whose uncompromising attitudes have resulted in lawsuits by students. As Francione & Charlton put it in their 1992 book Vivisection & Dissection in the Classroom: A Guide to Conscientious Objection:
    “The conclusion that most people draw is an important and correct one: those who exploit nonhuman animals are often not reluctant to violate the civil rights of humans.”
  • Sufficient studies have been conducted to yield general conclusions about the efficacy of humane teaching methods in imparting surgical skills or knowledge.
  • Synopses of surgical simulators designed for medical students and practitioners are provided at www.virtualsurgery.vision.ee.ethz.ch.
  • The potential of humane teaching methods within veterinary and other biomedical education

    1. 1. Humane teaching methods within veterinary and other biomedical education ANDREW KNIGHT DipECAWBM (AWSEL), DACAW, PhD, MANZCVS, MRCVS, SFHEA
    2. 2. First year cell biology labFirst year cell biology lab ““What youWhat you’’ve seen so far is only the tip of theve seen so far is only the tip of the iceberg compared to what you will have to doiceberg compared to what you will have to do to animals later in the veterinary course.to animals later in the veterinary course. Perhaps you should re-think your choice ofPerhaps you should re-think your choice of career…career…””
    3. 3. Humane teaching methodsHumane teaching methods • high quality videos/computer simulations • ‘ethically-sourced cadavers’ • preserved specimens • non-invasive self-experimentation • clinical/surgical skills models and simulators • supervised clinical/surgical experiences
    4. 4. Computer simulations: dissectionsComputer simulations: dissections
    5. 5. www.cvmbs.colostate.edu/vetneuro/VCA3/vca.html
    6. 6. ‘Face’ - Prodissector
    7. 7. www.DigitalFrog.com
    8. 8. Ethically-sourced cadaversEthically-sourced cadavers
    9. 9. Canine vascular cast of the liver/gall bladder
    10. 10. Canine tracheobroncheal cast
    11. 11. Computer simulations:Computer simulations: experimentsexperiments
    12. 12. ModelsModels
    13. 13. Clinical skills training mannequinsClinical skills training mannequins
    14. 14. ‘‘AlternativeAlternative’’ veterinary surgical trainingveterinary surgical training 1. Knot-tying boards, plastic organs and similar models: basic manual skills such as suturing and instrument handling 2. Ethically-sourced cadavers: simulated surgery 3. Real patients: observing, assisting with, and then performing beneficial surgery under close supervision (e.g. shelter animal neutering programs)
    15. 15. Surgical simulators: DASIESurgical simulators: DASIE
    16. 16. Surgical simulatorsSurgical simulators
    17. 17. Alternative surgical trainingAlternative surgical training
    18. 18. Alternative Veterinary SurgicalAlternative Veterinary Surgical Program, 2000Program, 2000  External clinical experience in private clinics or animalExternal clinical experience in private clinics or animal shelters assisting with or participating in surgery andshelters assisting with or participating in surgery and anaesthesia.anaesthesia.  Sterilisations of real patients, e.g., from animalSterilisations of real patients, e.g., from animal shelters, at Murdoch.shelters, at Murdoch.  Attendance at all of the terminal surgical laboratoriesAttendance at all of the terminal surgical laboratories as observers.as observers.
    19. 19.  Simulated abdominal surgeries on aSimulated abdominal surgeries on a ““DASIEDASIE”” (Dog(Dog Abdominal Surrogate for Instructional Exercises).Abdominal Surrogate for Instructional Exercises).  Ethically-sourced cadaver surgery: abdominal andEthically-sourced cadaver surgery: abdominal and orthopaedic surgeries.orthopaedic surgeries.
    20. 20. Outcomes:Outcomes: Did not participate as surgeon or assistant surgeon in aDid not participate as surgeon or assistant surgeon in a total oftotal of at mostat most 1313 scheduled surgeriesscheduled surgeries But… performed or assisted with a total ofBut… performed or assisted with a total of at leastat least 6262 additional surgeriesadditional surgeries ((not including the abdominal surgeries Inot including the abdominal surgeries I performed on aperformed on a ““DASIEDASIE”” surgical simulator).surgical simulator). Surgeries performed under supervision, mostly in privateSurgeries performed under supervision, mostly in private practice.practice.
    21. 21.  DepthDepth:: Jointly we sterilised 45 dogs and cats, includingJointly we sterilised 45 dogs and cats, including 21 spays.21 spays.  BreadthBreadth:: We also participated in a range of otherWe also participated in a range of other surgeries as well, e.g., umbilical hernia repair, cruciatesurgeries as well, e.g., umbilical hernia repair, cruciate ligament repair, cutaneous polyp and lump excisions,ligament repair, cutaneous polyp and lump excisions, aural haematoma excision, abdominal surgeriesaural haematoma excision, abdominal surgeries (exploratory laparotomy, enterotomy, enterectomy,(exploratory laparotomy, enterotomy, enterectomy, partial splenectomy, spay), orthopaedic surgeriespartial splenectomy, spay), orthopaedic surgeries (trochanteric osteotomy, stifle arthrotomy).(trochanteric osteotomy, stifle arthrotomy).  Similar depth and breadth of anaesthetic experience.Similar depth and breadth of anaesthetic experience.
    22. 22. Effectiveness of humane teaching methodsEffectiveness of humane teaching methods www.HumaneLearning.info, ‘Published papers, Comparative.’
    23. 23. ResultsResults  1212 papers published from 1989 to 2006 describedpapers published from 1989 to 2006 described 1111 distinct studies of veterinary studentsdistinct studies of veterinary students::  9 assessed surgical training — historically the9 assessed surgical training — historically the discipline involving greatest harmful animal use.discipline involving greatest harmful animal use. Humane method:Humane method: SuperiorSuperior EquivalentEquivalent InferiorInferior 45.5% (5/11)45.5% (5/11) 45.5% (5/11)45.5% (5/11) 9.1% (1/11)9.1% (1/11)
    24. 24. Surgical skills assessedSurgical skills assessed  psychomotor (all)  ligation (Griffon et al. 2000, Olsen et al. 1996)  intestinal anastomoses and celiotomy closures (Carpenter et al., 1991)  gastrotomy closures (Smeak et al., 1994)  ovariohysterectomies (Griffon et al., 2000)
    25. 25. Superior learning outcome:Superior learning outcome: fluid hemostasis modelfluid hemostasis model  At least as effective as a live dog splenectomy for teaching blood vessel ligation and division.  students completed their ligatures more quickly  fewer errors  their ligatures were tighter  superior instrument grip Students' initial scepticism regarding the use of alternatives for learning these surgical skills was dramatically altered. (Olsen et al., 1996)
    26. 26. Equivalent learning outcomesEquivalent learning outcomes 5 studies demonstrated equivalent learning outcomes using humane alternatives:  Carpenter et al. (1991) and Bauer et al. (1992) demonstrated equivalent surgical skill acquisition using cadavers as the humane option.
    27. 27.  Greenfield et al. (1994, 1995) demonstrated a similar result using soft tissue organ models.  White et al. (1992) found that veterinary students from an alternative surgical laboratory program had surgical skills equivalent to those with a standard laboratory experience, after some initial hesitancy of the alternative students during their first live animal surgery.
    28. 28. Inferior learning outcome:Inferior learning outcome: gastrotomy hollow organ modelgastrotomy hollow organ model Two groups of 20 veterinary students:  one group practiced using a hollow organ model  the other practiced using a live animal Live animal gastrotomy skills later assessed (in subsequent laboratories)
    29. 29.  No significant difference in overall gastrotomy closure technique  the students performing the procedure for a second time on a live animal were significantly quicker However, the plastic model used was deficient, being more fragile and stiff than living gastric tissue, with suture pull-through occurring despite appropriate technique and tension (Smeak et al., 1994).
    30. 30. Short and long-termShort and long-term learning outcomeslearning outcomes  Most studies examined short-term learning outcomes  Pavletic et al. (1994) used employer questionnaires at the time of hiring and one year later to compare the skills of 12 new graduates from the Tufts University veterinary class of 1990, who had participated in an alternative small animal medical and surgical procedures course, with the skills of 36 of their conventionally-trained counterparts
    31. 31.  No significant difference in:  Abilities to perform common surgical, medical and diagnostic procedures  attitudes towards performing orthopedic or soft tissue surgery  confidence in performing the listed procedures  ability to perform them unassisted
    32. 32. Non-surgical disciplinesNon-surgical disciplines Cardiovascular physiology more efficient learning using interactive videodisc simulations (Fawver et al., 1990). Microbiology more active learning with greater autonomy, using interactive databases containing digital images, movies and sounds (Whithear et al., 1994).
    33. 33. Bovine rectal palpation learnt more effectively using a haptic (virtual reality- based) teaching tool (Baillie et al., 2005a, 2005b). Equine nasogastric intubation learnt more effectively (superior knowledge, practical skill and confidence) using a CD-ROM (Abutarbush et al. 2006).
    34. 34. Related non-veterinary facultiesRelated non-veterinary faculties  14 studies: undergraduate biology, medical, nursing, pharmacology, physiology and psychology students Humane method:Humane method: SuperiorSuperior EquivalentEquivalent InferiorInferior 35.7% (5/14)35.7% (5/14) 57.1% (8/14)57.1% (8/14) 7.1% (1/14)7.1% (1/14)
    35. 35. Comparative studiesComparative studies of student performance: all disciplinesof student performance: all disciplines www.HumaneLearning.info, ‘Published papers, comparative.’ At least 33 papers sourced from the biomedical andAt least 33 papers sourced from the biomedical and educational literature, covering all educational levels andeducational literature, covering all educational levels and disciplines, describe studies that have compared the abilitydisciplines, describe studies that have compared the ability of humane alternatives to impart knowledge or clinical orof humane alternatives to impart knowledge or clinical or surgical skillssurgical skills Humane method:Humane method: SuperiorSuperior EquivalentEquivalent InferiorInferior 39.4% (13/33)39.4% (13/33) 51.5% (17/33)51.5% (17/33) 9.1% (3/33)9.1% (3/33)
    36. 36. Impact of chronologyImpact of chronology on comparative studieson comparative studies  Of the 11 distinct studies comparing veterinaryOf the 11 distinct studies comparing veterinary student learning outcomes, eight were more than astudent learning outcomes, eight were more than a decade old at the time of review (published prior todecade old at the time of review (published prior to 1996)1996)  Of the 21 papers describing non-veterinary studentOf the 21 papers describing non-veterinary student learning outcomes, 18 were more than a decade oldlearning outcomes, 18 were more than a decade old
    37. 37. 29 studies of veterinary students29 studies of veterinary students notnot involving comparisonsinvolving comparisons with harmful animal usewith harmful animal use Additional advantagesAdditional advantages of humane alternativesof humane alternatives
    38. 38.  time and cost savingstime and cost savings  repeatability &repeatability & flexibility of useflexibility of use  savings of substantial numbers of animal livessavings of substantial numbers of animal lives  increased compliance with legislative and Code of Practiceincreased compliance with legislative and Code of Practice requirements about using alternatives to animalsrequirements about using alternatives to animals  decreased student exposure to toxic chemicals used todecreased student exposure to toxic chemicals used to preserve dissection specimens, with consequent risks ofpreserve dissection specimens, with consequent risks of adverse health effects and potential liabilityadverse health effects and potential liability  decreased potential for conflict with students unwilling to harmdecreased potential for conflict with students unwilling to harm animals during their educationanimals during their education Key advantagesKey advantages
    39. 39. Ethical ConsiderationsEthical Considerations  Numbers of animals used:Numbers of animals used: Close to six millionClose to six million vertebrates dissected annually in U.S. high schools alonevertebrates dissected annually in U.S. high schools alone  Sources:Sources: Biological supply companies, Class B dealersBiological supply companies, Class B dealers (licensed animal brokers) - have used animal shelters,(licensed animal brokers) - have used animal shelters, strays,strays, "free to good home""free to good home" adsads
    40. 40.  Biological supply companiesBiological supply companies::  Inhumane killing practicesInhumane killing practices  Injection of still-living animals with formaldehyde-Injection of still-living animals with formaldehyde- based preservativesbased preservatives  Numerous violations of the federal Animal WelfareNumerous violations of the federal Animal Welfare ActAct  Adverse environmental impacts:Adverse environmental impacts: E.g., frogE.g., frog populationspopulations
    41. 41. Student experiencesStudent experiences of harmful animal useof harmful animal use University of Illinois veterinary students, 1999:University of Illinois veterinary students, 1999: "It was difficult to get any great understanding of physiology because we worried most of the time about not having our dog bleed to death or die of anesthetic overdose before the experiment was over. In the end, what I learned about physiology (cardiology and respiratory physiology) I taught myself from the notes." “Most of us were too preoccupied with having to kill the dog that physiology wasn't concentrated on…” “Nothing that was covered in those labs could not have been learned from a demo, or a video. The guilt I felt for participating outweighed all beneficial aspects of the experience.”
    42. 42. “The stress of the whole ordeal was worth nothing in the end. I studied from these books, not from my lab experience.” “During one lab, my group accidentally killed our dog with anesthesia overdose because of lack of experience and the impatient ill-given advice of a professor. The experience overshadowed the benefit gained by the first lab.” Conclusions: 59 % believed the non-survival animal physiology labs were not "worth the resources used". Only 20 % felt they gained "great benefit" in their understanding of physiology from the laboratories.
    43. 43. Veterinary associations survey 2005 - 2006  World Veterinary Association (WVA)  American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)  British Veterinary Association (BVA)  New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA)  Australian Veterinary Association (AVA)
    44. 44. Animal use practices 1. ‘Battery’ cages to house laying hens 2. Small crates to house ‘veal’ calves 3. Gestation crates to house pregnant sows 4. Cosmetic tail docking of dogs 5. The harmful use of animals in scientific research, toxicity testing and education
    45. 45. Outcomes  Official veterinary positions lagged behind those of the general public on important animal use issues:  close confinement of laying hens in battery cages  of veal calves in small crates  of pregnant sows in gestation crates  Only practice condemned by most people and opposed by most veterinary associations:  cosmetic tail docking of dogs (although the AVMA did not take a firm stance against this)
    46. 46. A key cause: veterinary student education The importance of educating veterinary students about animal welfare issues and of assisting their development of critical reasoning skills is increasingly recognized However, the proportion of veterinary students receiving such formal education remains small
    47. 47. ‘‘Hidden curriculumHidden curriculum’’ endorsingendorsing harmful animal useharmful animal use  Anatomy (dissection, often of purpose-killed animals or animals from ethically-debatable sources)  Physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology (‘demonstration’ experiments on living animals, with animals usually killed during or after the experiment)  ‘Terminal’ surgical and anaesthetic laboratories
    48. 48. Attitudinal impactsAttitudinal impacts Majority of veterinary students receive minimal or no formal education in animal welfare issues or critical reasoning, and are directly required to harm and kill animals during their education Unspoken messages:  Harming and killing healthy animals is not only condoned, but is required to become a veterinarian  Animal welfare concerns are subservient to human interests of debatable merit
    49. 49. Psychological impactsPsychological impacts  Negative underlying message about intrinsic value of animals’ lives  Stress may result in impairment of cognitive abilities, decreased learning, and loss of interest in the sciences  Desensitization to suffering and killing  Diminished capacity for compassion and ethical decision making
    50. 50. Veterinary student studies  Decreasing awareness of veterinary students of animal sentience (specifically, the hunger, pain, fear and boredom of dogs, cats and cows) over the duration of their veterinary courses (Paul and Podberscek 2000)  Decreased likelihood of fourth year students to provide analgesia when compared to second or third year students (Hellyer et al. 1999)  Inhibition of normal development of moral reasoning ability during the four years of veterinary school (Self et al. 1991)
    51. 51. Desensitisation-related phenomena Psychological adaptations, enabling previously caring students to withstand psychological stresses, resulting from requirements to harm and kill sentient animals in the absence of overwhelming necessity
    52. 52. As well as directly saving substantial numbers of animal lives within veterinary curricula, the use of humane teaching methods are more likely to result in veterinary graduates with higher animal welfare standards, potentially benefiting their future patients. Additionally, these veterinarians are more likely to become leaders, rather than followers, of evolving social standards on animal welfare, as expected by society Therefore…
    53. 53. Conflict with studentsConflict with students Legislative issues E.g. Safia Rubaii, University of Colorado School of Medicine, 1995 Examples of US states with student choice legislation or policies: California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island. Publicity issues
    54. 54. ConclusionsConclusions Well-designed humane alternatives usually perform at least as well as methods that rely upon harmful animal use, in some cases achieving superior learning outcomes. Educators can best serve their students and animals, and can minimize financial and time burdens, by introducing well-designed, humane teaching methodologies
    55. 55. Alternatives for various academic disciplines:  From Guinea Pig to Computer Mouse: Alternative Methods for a Progressive, Humane Education www.InterNICHE.org  www.clive.ed.ac.uk Alternatives libraries, free on-line computer simulations, comprehensive alternatives databases, academic reviews of leading alternatives, and hundreds of educational studies of alternatives organized by discipline:  www.HumaneLearning.info  www.InterNICHE.org  www.EURCA.org Further informationFurther information

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