First University in the Ural Region Signs Formal Agreement on Stopping Animal Experiments

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First University in the Ural Region Signs Formal Agreement on Stopping Animal Experiments

From VITA Animal Rights Center, Russia

On February 4, 2010 a formal agreement between Perm State Pharmaceutical Academy and the International Network for Humane Education (InterNICHE) was signed.

Perm State Pharmaceutical Academy now becomes the tenth Russian higher education institution to sign a contract with InterNICHE concerning the introduction of alternatives to animal labs.

According to the contract terms, InterNICHE grants the academy computer programs for use in the classroom as an alternative to dissection and animal experimentation in different courses, while the Academy guarantees to stop all animal labs carried out during studies.

Active promotion of alternatives made by VITA and InterNICHE campaigners in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus has resulted in the introduction of alternatives in dozens of universities of CIS countries and the replacement of the annual use of thousands of animals. The progress of this curricular change is described in the new Russian film “Humane Education in the CIS countries” made by VITA and InterNICHE with the support of DAAE (Doctors Against Animal Experiments Germany).

The first institution of higher education to abolish all animal labs was Velikie Luki State Agricultural Academy, which signed contracts with InterNICHE in 2006 and 2009. But whereas in this and other institutions the animal labs were stopped at the faculty or departmental level, the contract with Perm State Pharmaceutical Academy provides for a total cessation of all animal labs in all departments.

The ground for introducing alternatives in Perm was prepared by campaigners of the Perm organizations “ZZZ” and “Snow Leopard”. In May 2009 they worked closely with Alexey Skrobanskiy, InterNICHE Russia alternatives adviser and coordinator of the Arkhangelsk chapter of VITA, to hold a series of talks and presentations of alternatives at universities in Perm. The report of the trip can be read below.

Alexey Skrobanskiy said today, “The governing body of Perm Pharmaceutical Academy expressed great interest in the issues of humane education, and after some negotiations made a decision to sign a contract on abolishing animal labs. Now pharmacology and other disciplines will be based on modern alternative technologies. This will significantly enhance the quality of teaching, save the lives of dozens of animals, and serve the future promotion of alternatives in Russia.”

InterNICHE and VITA Introduce Humane Alternatives in Perm, Russia

On May 4-12, 2009, Alexey Skrobanskiy, InterNICHE Russia alternatives adviser and co-ordinator of the Arkhangelsk chapter of VITA, traveled to the Perm Krai in the Urals. The main objective of the trip was to visit higher education institutions in Perm and to promote the ideas of humane education. Several years ago a similar trip was undertaken by Olga Kononchuk, co-ordinator of InterNICHE Siberia, which paved the way for the second InterNICHE outreach trip to the area. Preparation of the trip, contacts with the mass media and other arrangements were undertaken by the local animal protection organisation “ZZZ”, whose representatives participated in the InterNICHE Regional Meeting in Kharkov, Ukraine, in 2008.

During the time in Perm, meetings with the faculty of four higher education institutions with an interest in humane education were held. The Normal Physiology Department of Perm State Agricultural Academy had already implemented the Physiology Simulators freeware program, produced through the InterNICHE Humane Education Award and translated into Russian by InterNICHE Russia and VITA. This had been shared by their Moscow colleagues, thus demonstrating the wide recognition of the program in the country. At all four institutions the teachers of various departments and the top management could appreciate the alternatives presented, including computer programs, plastic models and the Critical Care Jerry dog mannekin from the InterNICHE Russian Alternatives Loan System.

On May 6, “ZZZ” arranged for a press conference at the offices of InterFAX-Povolzhye news agency which was devoted to the arrival of InterNICHE and VITA to Perm Krai and which addressed alternatives to harmful animal use. At the press conference, attended by representatives of three higher education institutions, Alexey Skrobanskiy presented to journalists the various replacement alternatives - from non-animal learning tools to the benefits of clinical practice as an alternative to animal experiments.

In this humane alternative approach, students assist veterinary doctors in the treatment, surgery and nursing of animals at clinics, rather than inflicting injuries on healthy animals and then treating them. The false perception that computer programs, models and mannekins are the only replacement methods was overcome at the press conference. This perception had long prevailed, and now at each presentation of alternatives the role of clinical practice in humane education and training is clearly explained.

Elena Maroueva, co-ordinator of InterNICHE Russia, and Director of VITA, said at the time, "The trip and the press conference has been a great success. We plan to donate a range of alternatives, and the administration of one of the universities is now considering entering into an agreement with InterNICHE on full or partial replacement of animal experiments".

Alexey Skrobanskiy also visited a number of the Perm Krai animal shelters to share experience and to gather information required to help implement a homeless pet sterilisation program in Arkhangelsk. He also had a meeting with the Chief of the Environment and Wildlife Management Department of the Administration of Berezniki town, which has an official sterilisation program. Properly supervised, such programs can benefit the animals and provide students with valuable clinical skills and surgery experience.

InterNICHE and VITA thank DAAE (Doctors Against Animal Experiments Germany) for helping to sponsor this trip.