The Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes clearly states “Scientific and teaching activities using animals may be performed only when they are essential.” (1.1) and further, “Techniques that totally or partially replace the use of animals for scientific purposes must be sought and used wherever possible” (1.8). The Code is a legally enforceable document, yet is clearly not being adhered to in Australia.
Live Rabbits in Clinical and Cardiovascular Physiology Classes, Monash University, Victoria
The above footage (courtesy of Animal Liberation Vic) shows live rabbits being used in cardiovascular physiology classes at Monash University, despite a non-animal alternative being available. The live rabbits are anaesthetised, tied down by their legs and teeth and have their throats slit in order to insert a catheter to administer drugs that raise and lower their heart rates. After completion of the experiment the rabbits are killed.
Following protests by Animal Liberation and letters of objection from HRA and its supporters the university has since advised us that the practical has now been replaced with alternatives including non-invasive experiments in humans using the Finometer MIDI.
Rats Used in Psychology Experiments at Sydney University
The above footage shows rats that have received 2 days ad libitum access to beer and water. They are observed over several days in small glass cages.
They have then been separated into two groups – 50% may press a lever to receive beer (40 calories/100ml beer), and the other 50% may press a lever for access to sucrose water (10% sugar, 41 calories/100ml water). At the end of the tutorial students present their data to see how many lever pressings occurred to obtain each substance.
The aim of the experiment is to observe behavioural patterns – an objective that can easily be achieved by using a number of non-animal alternatives.