Murdoch Uni: humane use of animals in teaching
Sun, 10 Oct 1999 13:30:54 +1000
Dear HERDSA friends
Below is a communication I've received from Andrew Knight, a graduate
student at Murdoch Uni. Andrew attracted media attention some months ago
and had an article written about his work in Animals Today (Journal of the
Aust & NBZ Federation of Animal Societies), which was where I first heard
of his wonderful work for animal rights.
He has, almost singlehandedly, campaigned and worked to represent the case
for the humane treatment of animals at Murdoch University over the past
years, resulting in Murdoch now being unquestionably at the forefront of
Australian Universities planning to implement changes to the use of animals
Previously, when Andrew appealed for letters of congratulations to Murdoch
for their enlightened policy initiatives, I sent one and received a warm
and encouraging reply from Professor Steve Thurgate who's currently
President of the Academic Council. They do take note of what people send
I wish to encourage all of you who care for animal welfare and for ethical
teaching to read Andrew's letter below and respond in the simple way he
suggests - by writing a letter and emailing it to Thurgood applauding their
initiatives and encouraging them to proceed with their enlightened and
These simple things can mean a lot. Please help by doing something yourself
and copying this letter to others in your University who may also be
inclined to support this splendid initiative.
And, if your university has not yet joined the ranks of those looking to
alternatives to live animals for use in teaching, let them have the
references mentioned by Andrew to the various Murdoch Reports on what they
Many thanks, and with my warmest regards
45 Silver Gull Drive Ballina 2478
Tel/Fax: 02 6681 3557
Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1999 17:34:32 +0000
From: Andrew Knight <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Letterwriting appeal to Murdoch Uni
If you have time to send a para or 2 to Murdoch Uni on this it would be
greatly appreciated. Thanks lots! ~ Andrew Knight.
Letterwriting Appeal to Murdoch University 25th September 1999
On the 15th of September 1999 Murdoch's Academic Council approved the
recommendations contained within its Report on the Review of the Use of
Animals in Teaching.
The following was taken from my letter of thanks to all involved:
"The review committee has successfully responded to the challenges posed by
the rapidly growing field of alternatives and the recommendations contained
within its report provide a rational and enduring basis for making future
decisions about the usage of such alternatives. The report broadly supports
the use of humane alternatives wherever possible and recognises the
potential for replacement of existing harmful animal usage in teaching at
In particular it states that: "The Committee agreed that Murdoch was in a
position to and should aim to conduct teaching that does not require
animals to be killed specifically for this purpose by 2005."
The high standard and progressive nature of this report make it a worthy
model for other Australian universities. Its recommendations, if
implemented, have the potential to propel Murdoch to the forefront of
humane education within Australia. Its existence in its present form would
not have been possible without the hard work of its Executive Officer and
review committee members and the invaluable support of the Division of
Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences, the Division of Science and Engineering,
and the Animal Ethics Committee. For the very significant impact it will
have on present and future students who desire humane teaching methods
within their education I would like to offer to all of the above parties,
and to Academic Council, our sincerest gratitude."
The report contained 15 recommendations, including the following
Murdoch's Animal Ethics Committee and the affected Divisions will develop a
formal written policy on the use of alternatives to animals in teaching.
The University of Adelaide Animal Ethics Committee Policy on the Use of
Animals in Undergraduate Teaching
provides an excellent model.
It makes it very clear that alternatives must be used wherever possible
and must be properly evaluated before they can be rejected. ·
The AEC, through the Manager - Research Ethics, works with individual Unit
Coordinators to address the report's recommendations for the reduction,
refinement and replacement of animals in particular units. Information
about specific units, and these recommendations, is in the appendices. ·
The affected Divisions will be requested to give consideration to the
development of a laboratory animal handling unit component that does not
require euthanasia of animals. ·
The Research Ethics Office organise an annual meeting for teaching staff to
discuss the use of alternatives to animals in teaching and assessment. ·
The Research Ethics Office maintain and update a database of alternatives
to the use of animals in teaching. ·
The Research Ethics Office maintain a file of relevant journal articles
relating to the use and evaluation of alternatives to the use of animals in
The full report (9pp) is available from me.
Please write congratulating Murdoch University for reviewing the humane
alternatives available in its teaching units.
Urge them to implement the many excellent recommendations of the report
approved by Academic Council on the 15th of September 1999 (Report on the
Review of the Use of Animals in Teaching) by bringing in humane
alternatives as soon as possible:
Assoc Prof Steve Thurgate
President Academic Council Murdoch university
Murdoch WA 6150 AUSTRALIA
+ 61 8 9360 2382 Fax: + 61 8 9310 1711
"Dear Professor Thurgate"
Prof Thurgate has told me that he copies all letters to the vet school and
that they are definitely having an impact. One or two paragraphs is all
that is needed. Thanks so much for your help!
Andrew Knight Veterinary student,
12A Green Court Kardinya
Ph: + 61 8 9332 0841 AUSTRALIA
"Style is the ultimate morality of mind"
[A.N. Whitehead, The Aims of Education, p.19]
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* Dr Lee W. Andresen *
* 45 Silver Gull Drive *
* Ballina NSW 2478 Australia *
* Tel/Fax: 02 6681 3557 *
* E-mail: email@example.com *
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