BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) - The University of Colorado is now considering the end of live animal experiments in undergraduate classrooms. The move to review their program comes after animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a complaint against the university.
“It is an important goal to be able to teach our young people how to be the doctors and researchers of the future,” CU spokesperson Bronson Hilliard said.
The latest complaint filed against CU last fall has triggered a new argument on ethics.
“We would disagree that it is unethical. We try to use that for strict and narrow instructional purposes,” Hilliard said. “It’s not a wide-spread use on the campus and again the animals are very humanely treated.”
“It is absolutely not ethical to use an animal when it is completely pointless and orally unnecessary,” Jessica Sandler with PETA said.
PETA claims new technology makes animal testing obsolete
“If 98 percent of medical schools can train doctors without using animals then surely CU Boulder can teach undergraduates without tormenting animals,” Sandler said.
PETA says CU has a long history of unethical animal testing practices.
“Their history with experiments on cats that have been called completely unjustified — cats that were not adequately anesthetized were waking up during experiments and CU has had a number of citations, I believe, by the federal government,” Sandler said.
University officials defend the value of animal testing and say regardless of PETA’s complaint, their animal testing program is already under review.
“The goal of that is too look at how we use animals in teaching undergraduate lab courses and to make some determination about whether we need keep doing that or do something different,” Hilliard said. “If we can find alternatives, using computer simulations and other methods, it won’t be that big if a deal.”
CU officials say professors and the Animal Use Committee will meet but they won’t make a decision on their animal testing labs until the end of the fall semester.