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Dying to learn: the supply and use of companion animals in U.S. colleges and universities*

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Laura Ducceschi, Nicole Green and Crystal Miller-Spiegel
Animalearn, Jenkintown, PA, USA

Americans consider dogs and cats as household pets, but many are harmed and killed for teaching and training purposes, despite the availability of alternatives. A review of 92 U.S. public college and university Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) 2005-2007 records indicates that 52% are using live and dead dogs and cats, and 26% are using live dogs and cats in harmful teaching exercises in undergraduate life science, veterinary, and medical education. In specific cases, IACUCs are failing to minimize animal use and suffering in education as required by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Sources of dogs and cats for education include Class A and Class B dealers, and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2005-2007 inspections reveal repeated violations and inhumane treatment. Regardless, dealers continue to sell thousands of dogs and cats, many whom were former pets, annually to universities for use in education. A growing number of universities, however, are changing their policies and replacing harmful animal use with pedagogically sound alternatives.

* this article was presented as a poster at the 7th World Congress Rome 2009; the full report of this article is available at http://www.dyingtolearn.org

ALTEX 27(4), 304-308
doi: 10.14573/altex.2010.4.304

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