Animal Writes
1 March 2000 Issue
Illinois Vet Student Wins Animals' Choice Award

SACRAMENTO, CA (February 22) - United Animal Nations, a national animal advocacy and rescue group headquartered in Sacramento, today awarded Illinois veterinary student Linnaea Stull its esteemed Animals' Choice Award.

Stull, a second-year student at the University of Illinois Veterinary College, received the award -- which recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding commitment to help animals in need -- for leading a successful effort to get her school to use alternative educational tools in first-year physiology labs instead of killing animals during instruction. Veterinary College Dean Ted Valli announced last month that the school would end the live animal physiology experiments for the spring semester and evaluate the use of alternatives.

Although some veterinary schools in the United States have ended the use of live animal experiments, University of Illinois is among a few schools that have continued to use live dogs, pigs and rabbits to teach students about physiology. Experiments include injecting drugs into dogs to change their heartbeat or giving pigs chemicals that measure how their kidneys filter toxins. The animals either die during the experiments or they are euthanized afterwards. About 100 animals have been killed each year in the first-year labs at University of Illinois.

Stull was among a group of University of Illinois students who adamantly objected to the lethal experiments, arguing that the unnecessary killing of these animals is the antithesis of the veterinary oath to help and care for animals. To prove that such killing is unnecessary and to encourage the school to offer alternatives, Stull submitted 28 scientific studies to Dean Valli which outlined the efficacy of alternative educational tools. She also submitted a list of over 200 alternatives which met the learning objectives for the physiology labs, such as videos and computer simulations, and a petition of 26 signatures of first-year students (about a quarter of the class) who objected to the live animal experiments.

As a result of Stull's efforts, the objections of other students and the resulting public pressure and media coverage, Dean Valli made the decision to halt the live animal labs for the spring semester and to evaluate the use of alternatives. The school recently invested $2,500 to examine these alternatives.

"In forcing the school to end these live animal experiments, Linnaea has lived up to her oath to save animal life, specifically the lives of 100 animals who were scheduled to die during this year's physiology labs," said UAN President Jeane Westin. "As important, she prompted the school to reconsider its policy on this unnecessary killing and to pursue viable alternatives. She exemplifies the commitment and caring that should serve as a role model for her fellow students and her profession."

UAN's Animals' Choice Award includes a $250 donation made in the recipient's name to a related animal welfare cause or project. Stulls' donation will be given to the Humane PAC in Illinois. This group is currently working on passage of the Illinois Dissection Alternatives Act, which allows students through undergraduate level to have alternatives to dissection and vivisection in their curriculum. Stull has helped the Humane PAC educate legislators on this issue in visits at the State Capitol in Springfield.

Previous recipients of UAN's Animals' Choice Award include Pennsylvania Humane Officer Clayton Hulsizer, who helped shut down the notorious pigeon shoot in Hegins, PA, and Maryanne Scudiero, a 12-year-old who marched on stage at a Ringling Bros. contest for kids and attempted to read a statement about the cruelty that circus animals endure.

For more information about UAN or the Animals' Choice Award, contact UAN at

P.O. Box 188890, Sacramento, CA 95818, Tel: (916) 429-2457, email

[email protected], web site

Source: [email protected] (UNITED ANIMAL NATIONS)

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