NO MORE DOG LABS!!!!!!!
LIVE DOG LABS HAVE BEEN DROPPED AT UCSD!!!
Diego Union Tribune
August 27, 2003
'Dog labs' won't be required at UCSD
Use in medical training had stirred controversy
By Cheryl Clark
Bowing to protests, UCSD Medical School no longer expects students to take a course
in which live dogs are used for surgical and drug demonstrations and then killed, a faculty chairman acknowledged yesterday.
"The main concern was that this issue had become so heated, it was impairing both the ability of students to learn and
faculty to teach," said Dr. Igor Grant, chairman of UCSD's Faculty Council, which made the decision.
Grant added that
while the council thinks students "will miss what some faculty feel is an important experience, clearly we didn't feel that
it was so vital we couldn't do without it."
The courses, called "dog labs," will still be offered as an elective to students,
such as those pursuing an "M.D.-Ph.D. in animal pharmacology research," said Grant, executive chairman of UCSD's Department
The labs, part of the core curriculum for first-year physiology and pharmacology medical students since
1968, have been opposed by Doctors Against Dog Labs, a group of physicians and physician researchers at UCSD and in private
practice around the county.
The doctors had waged a five-year campaign to convince UCSD that the practice is unnecessary
and cruel. They say the lessons can be learned with a compact disc and that the dogs between 24 and 56 purchased each year
since 1996 at $576 each suffer in confinement.
They are brought to the labs heavily anesthetized. In the physiology class,
students watch a surgeon cut open the dogs' chest cavities to reveal beating hearts and flow of blood. In the pharmacology
class, students insert catheters into the dogs' veins, arteries and hearts to measure changes in blood pressure and respiration
as various drugs are injected.
The doctors said they don't oppose the use of animals for research or to train students
in surgical technique, uses which they said have real teaching benefit. But they said that is different from using the animals
in students' early training.
And, the group says, surveys of other medical schools around the country reveal that UCSD
is the only medical school in the state, and one of just a few in the country, that expected students to take the course.
Last February, their protest culminated with a rally outside the Basic Science building on the La Jolla campus. Many students,
doctors in private practice, UCSD researchers and private citizens lambasted the courses. Several medical students said they
felt so strongly that they opted not to take the course despite fear of retaliation and grade reductions from their professors.
After that, the UCSD medical school dean, Dr. Ed Holmes, asked the Faculty Council to review the issue, which it did May
The council's action wasn't communicated publicly until Monday, when Doctors Against Dog Labs spokesman Dr. Lawrence
Hansen received an e-mail from Holmes. Holmes was not available yesterday for comment.
"We're delighted and ecstatic.
The clear message is that it's not necessary, which we've been saying for a long time," said Hansen, a UCSD professor of neuroscience
"So many hundreds and in the future thousands of dogs won't be suffering lives of confinement, followed
by terrifying transport and vivisection and death unnecessarily."
Hansen said he was perplexed about why he was told about
the council's decision more than three months after it was made. The group has maintained an extensive Web site which criticizes
UCSD's dog-lab policy and was planning more protests and rallies.
Asked why the decision was not shared with Hansen's
group last May, Grant said: "It didn't occur to me. They weren't on our agenda. We notified the people who we thought needed
to know, such as the course directors. It's not the job of the faculty to put out newsletters."
Dr. Nancy Harrison, a
pathologist at Scripps Memorial Hospital-Chula Vista, said she is "grateful and very pleased" but also thinks it is strange
that the council would keep its decision secret.
"If they were concerned about the controversy, it seems they would have
informed us as soon as they made the decision," she said.