Tufts veterinary school breaks dogs’ bones, kills the dogs, injures humane reputation

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2004:

GRAFTON, Mass.– Philip C. Kosch, DVM,
dean of the Tufts University School of Veterinary
Medicine, announced by e-mail on January 2 that
researchers had killed the last five of six dogs
whose legs were deliberately broken as part of a
bone-healing study.
One dog had already been euthanized due to a post-surgical infection.
The killings were authorized by the Tufts
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
despite pleas for the dogs’ lives from the New
England Anti-Vivisection Society and
Massachusetts SPCA.
NEAVS and the MSPA learned of the
bone-breaking study only days earlier, after
Center for Animals & Public Policy masters’
degree candidates Tara Turner, Donna Zenko,
Diana Goodrich, and Michelle Johnson finally
realized after months of effort, supported by
more than two dozen classmates, that they would
not be able to save the dogs through internal
channels.

They then took the story to Ellen
Silberman of the Boston Globe, Elisabeth J.
Beardsley of the Boston Herald, and Donna
Boynton of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Experimenters Randy Boudrieau, Karl
Kraus, and Stephanie Gorman “insisted the dogs
have to die. We researched other studies that
show they do not,” said Turner. “Our ethical
considerations are not being taken seriously and
the scientific studies we researched showing that
there are alternatives to killing the dogs are
being ignored.”
“The Tufts response has been to
over-intellectualize the issue and do nothing,”
seconded Zenko.
Johnson affirmed the Turner and Zenko statements.
Added Johnson, “I don’t think the
public, Tufts’ supporters, or their clients
will approve of killing dogs for such a frivolous
reason as testing how a product is applied when
they could have used dogs who already had broken
legs and could have turned the study into helping
animals instead of a death sentence.”
The funding source for the bone-breaking
study was not disclosed, but previous research
by Boudrieau of a related nature has been funded
by the surgical products manufacturer KYON/Z├╝rich.
The study appeared to reprise research
done on “retired” racing greyhounds nearly 15
years ago by the U.S. Army at Letterman Hospital
in San Francisco.
Nineteen of those dogs were released for
adoption on October 12, 1989, San Francisco
Chronicle staff writer Erik Ingram disclosed,
“after In Defense of Animals, a Marin-based
animal rights group, won a court order halting
the experiment and forcing the military to
confirm whether the former owners of the dogs had
knowingly given them up for research.”
That strategy was not open to NEAVS and
the MSPCA because Boudrieau et al bought the dogs
killed at Tufts from the laboratory supply firm
Marshall Farms, of Rochester, New York.
The bone-breaking and dog-killing would
have shocked people who are sensitive toward
animal suffering no matter where they were done,
but were further shocking because of the history
of the Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine.
“Tufts Veterinary School was the first in
the nation to eliminate all terminal animal
procedures in teaching,” boasted Dean Kosch in
commemorating the 25th anniversary of the
founding of the vet school on page 2 of the
winter 2003 edition of Tufts Veterinary Medicine
magazine.
“Six years ago, Tufts Veterinary School
established a first-of-its-kind program for
anatomy laboratory classes that used deceased
dogs and cats whose bodies were donated by their
owners,” an unsigned article added on page 4.
“More than a decade ago, Tufts was the first
veterinary school in the U.S. to eliminate the
use of purpose bred dogs for surgical
instruction. The veterinary school now teaches
surgery skills by spaying and neutering shelter
animals.”
Additional articles starting on pages 7
and 19 featured Tufts’ role as “a leader in
promoting alternatives in the unnecessary use of
live animals in teaching.”
Wrote NEAVS president Theo Capaldo,
“Given the voice of founder Dr. Jean Mayer, who
denounced dog experiments early in his career;
given the work of former Dean Franklin Loew, who
was committed to bringing the issue of animal
research to public debate; and given the wishes
of its students, both past and present, the
current administration has much to consider in
setting the future course for the Tufts School of
Veterinary Medi-cine. If Tufts wishes to become
a world center for biomedical research,” a
stated goal of the administration, “then it must
listen to its community, which is saying loudly
and clearly that Tufts must not do the kind of
research that is practiced by status quo
institutions everywhere. We are asking that
Tufts uphold its reputation as the ethical
signature school of veterinary medicine.”

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