While the New University’s recent article entitled “PETA Accusations Fall Flat” by David Lumb [Sept. 29] provided graphic details about how rats and frogs were mutilated and killed for experiments in Neurobiology courses at UC Irvine, the article’s title mistakenly suggested that PETA’s accusations about this were somehow debunked.
Our recent complaint to UCI concerned the use of animals in these courses and the many effective non-animal methods available to achieve the same learning outcomes, not how nicely the animals were treated as they were ushered to their deaths; or whether or not an oversight committee that is mainly made up of animal experimenters gave its approval for the procedures.
The fact that UCI is attempting to shift the conversation to these topics is nothing more than hand-waving to distract attention from the main issue at hand, which is that animals are used and killed in classroom experiments and that excellent non-animal methods are readily available.
Furthermore, a distraught student who had recently taken the course provided the specifics of what actually occurs in the classroom to us. Contrary to claims made in the article, the student was required by a teaching assistant to participate in the abuse of the rats in her class. It is disingenuous for the professor now to suggest that he is sympathetic to these concerns.
It is frightening that these people have deluded themselves and their students into thinking that cutting holes into the skulls of thinking, feeling individuals, inducing brain damage and then killing them can be considered treating an animal “with respect.” I’m confident that they wouldn’t feel the same way if they were the subjects in these experiments.
Research Associate Supervisor
Laboratory Investigations Department
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals