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Live animal operations facing the axe

UQ Clinical Studies Centre manager Rebekah Scotney with 18 month old Cattle dog cross Beetle who is looking for a home.
UQ Clinical Studies Centre manager Rebekah Scotney with 18 month old Cattle dog cross Beetle who is looking for a home.

THE practice of University of Queensland Gatton campus students operating on live animals before euthanising them could soon be stopped by the State Government.

Veterinary science students at the campus are the only ones in Australia who can still operate on the healthy, live dogs and cats before they are destroyed.

But a recent recommendation by the government's Animal Welfare Advisory Committee to ban the practice could see it finished for good.

The independent body, set-up to advise the Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries, Rural and Regional Queensland Tim Mulherin about animal welfare issues, has put its recommendations to the minister.

A spokesperson said no decision has been made about the recommendations yet.

Simone Hewitt, an animal rights campaigner with the group Nonhuman Rescue Ops, said the recommendation to ban the practice was a good sign.

Ms Hewitt, who used to work at Logan Pound where the healthy animals are transferred from to the University of Queensland (UQ), said it would only work if euthanasia rates at the council pound were strictly supervised.

“We would like Minister Mulherin to pass the recommendation immediately,” she said.

“It would bring UQ in line with other vet-teaching schools in Australia.”

If the recommendation is implemented, she said her group would monitor the Logan City Council to ensure they are active in trying to find homes for the animals spared from the program.

UQ's head of veterinary science, Professor Jonathan Hill, did not return several calls and inquiries from The Queensland Times however in an email leaked to the media he said the decision to ban terminal labs would have “wide implications”.

“The use of animals for terminal procedures as part of the teaching of veterinary students will be banned in the near future,” he said in the email.

A Logan City Council spokesperson said council was seeking clarification from both UQ and the State Government and would act accordingly after receiving the advice.

“Should the current agreement be terminated as a result of State Government requirements then Logan City Council will look to work with the University of Queensland in a variety of other ways – such as placement of vet students with the Combined Vets of Logan City,” they said in a statement.


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