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Educational Use






Meet the Animals

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Military Experimentation




Many animals are still used to demonstrate known anatomical and physiological facts in secondary and higher education. In general, dissection (cutting up animals who have been killed) is carried out in secondary and even in primary schools, and vivisection (cutting into live animals) is limited to universities and medical schools.


In Israel in 1999, Yossi Sarid, at that time the Minister of Education, tried to ban dissection in all primary and secondary schools. Mr. Sarid stated, "It is more important to teach the students of Israel compassion towards animals. Such humane compassion will also lead to more compassion towards humans." However, the practice was not legally banned. Animal activists from several organizations regularly approach schools, offering alternatives, and they are making some progress in replacing dissection with non-animal alternatives.


Universities throughout Israel still use animals in medical, biological, psychological, and veterinary curricula. Many more animals are used for training purposes in Advanced Trauma and Life Support (ATLS) courses.


Use of animals to demonstrate well established facts is unnecessary in an age in which sophisticated software can illustrate the very same data. The alleged "need" for animals in the medical curriculum is contradicted by the simple fact that medical schools in Israel differ widely in their use of animals for educational purposes. The Technion Medical School in Haifa replaced all animals in its curriculum with alternative teaching methods, and some courses that use animals at one medical school (Jerusalem) don't use animals at another (Beer Sheba). Since all medical schools in Israel offer a high level of education, it is not necessity but the personal preferences of lecturers that determines whether animals are used or not.


The use of live dogs in ATLS courses drew much public attention in 2003, after the Supreme Court in Jerusalem rejected an appeal by an animal protection organization to ban dog use in army ATLS courses. During such courses, emergency procedures are demonstrated and taught to paramedics and doctors. While many ATLS courses use dogs, other certified courses employ alternative training devices, such as cadavers and mannequins. In its response to the Court, the Israeli army acknowledged that ATLS courses are best taught on human cadavers, but because of religious regulations, it is hard to obtain these in Israel.


Cadavers are not the only method available to teach ATLS. The American College of Surgeons, which invented ATLS and which supervises the ATLS program, approved the use of a sophisticated mannequin instead of dogs. A mannequin is used to replace animals at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as at dozens of similar centers across the U.S. In the UK, trauma training courses have long used mannequins and human cadavers. Mannequins are also in use in Germany. Human mannequins provide superior hands-on experience to dog cadavers because they can be used over and over, and because their anatomy is the same as that of the human patients that medical caregivers will find in the field.


Over a dozen companies now produce virtual reality simulators and interactive mannequins for training in endoscopy, laparoscopy, anesthesia, trauma management, angiography, and needle insertion. One such example is Trauma Man. Computer programs and interactive videodiscs are additional non-animal resources recommended by the U.S. military, and used in combat life support classes today.


Despite the availability of non-animal tools, ATLS courses in Israel are still taught using dogs obtained from municipal pounds cheaply or free of charge.