I have some exciting news to share. You may remember that in October 2019 we launched a public campaign in an effort to end the deadly use of dogs at the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine. At that time, we filed a federal complaint against the school, which was obtaining dogs from a nearby shelter, performing invasive procedures on them, and then killing the previously healthy animals in a veterinary training course.
We also placed billboards and other ads in the area, and local residents ran a grassroots campaign. Then our members kept up the pressure by sending thousands of petitions to university officials, urging them to modernize their training methods. And your work paid off! We just learned that Tuskegee University has ended its deadly surgery labs!
Alabama supporters of the Physicians Committee brought the practice to our attention in 2018, and it was later confirmed by an anonymous Tuskegee veterinary graduate. At the time, healthy dogs from the Russell County-Phenix City Animal Shelter were used to practice eye removal, limb amputations, foreign body removal, and other surgical procedures. At the conclusion of the training labs, the dogs were killed.
Now Tuskegee joins other veterinary schools that have replaced what are known as “terminal” surgery labs with humane training methods, including Tufts University and Western University of Health Sciences. Those training programs now offer hands-on training while providing beneficial care to animals in need, such as spay/neuter programs, feral cat clinics, extensive clinical rotations with practicing vets, mobile veterinary units, and willed-body programs.
We could not have achieved this momentous victory without your help and the work of so many Alabama advocates! Thank you for all you do to support our efforts.
John J. Pippin, MD, FACC
Director of Academic Affairs