While working on our campaign to end the deadly use of dogs for veterinary training at Tuskegee University (which we won!), we learned that another school in Alabama was doing the same thing.
An ally informed us that the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine was also using dogs in its invasive surgery laboratories and then killing the animals after the procedures.
Last January, I began corresponding with officials at Auburn, to provide evidence in support of humane training methods. At many other vet schools across the country, spay/neuter programs, feral cat clinics, extensive clinical rotations with practicing vets, and willed-body programs are used instead of fatal animal laboratories.
University officials responded positively to our information and assembled a task force to review its animal use. As a result of this review, Auburn has ended its deadly dog use! Now Auburn joins other veterinary schools that have replaced what are known as “terminal” surgery laboratories with humane training methods, including Tufts University and Western University of Health Sciences. And as you know, Tuskegee University recently halted the practice after a public campaign by the Physicians Committee and local advocates.
This is a great example of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into our efforts long before we make them public. Before the federal complaints, demonstrations, petitions, and billboards, we always start by encouraging change. We offer institutions evidence in support of modern training methods and try to engage in constructive dialogue. Unfortunately, sometimes, we get no response or are met with resistance. But in some cases, dialogue is all it takes, and we can bring about big victories like this without ever needing to launch a public campaign.