Sacramento, CA — On Wednesday, August 2, 2006, at 2:15pm, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will vote on a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the county and the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine (UCD) regarding the use of animals from the county shelter. The Board will also decide whether the current MOU with Sutter Medical Research Foundation (Sutter Hospital) will continue.
Sacramento County is the only county in the state which allows impounded cats and dogs to be sold for research or teaching. The Board has allowed the controversial practice since at least 1985, when the first of two public hearings to ban the practice took place. Because of intense public interest in the issue, the Board adopted a MOU to regulate the use of sheltered animals sold; it was signed by both UCD and Sutter in 1986. A ballot initiative in 1989 to stop the practice failed. Subsequent efforts by animal protectionists included a failed lawsuit against the county over numerous violations of the MOU agreement by both UCD and Sutter Hospital. Advocates also worked with veterinary students to pressure the university into more humane teaching methods, as most of the animals sold from the county shelter over the years have been used for veterinary training.
“Now UCD agrees with us that they can train veterinary students without harming and killing animals,” said Teri Barnato, National Director of the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR), in Davis. “We applaud UCD for making the necessary changes to its curricula that now allow the university to provide necessary and beneficial medical care and treatment for sheltered animals,” she said.
As for Sutter Hospital, animal protectionists will oppose the continued MOU agreement with the county. “They have taken kittens for neonatal intubation training and dogs for various research projects, such as experimenting on different ways to remove a prostate,” said Michelle Thew, CEO of the Animal Protection Institute in Sacramento. “No other area hospitals use live animals for intubation training because mannequins are available and are more appropriate for learning about a technique that will be used on a human.”
The Sacramento County Department of Animal Care and Regulation is recommending that the Board adopt the new MOU with UCD and that the Board discontinue its MOU agreement with Sutter Hospital.
Teri Barnato, Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, 530-219-7192
Zibby Wilder, Animal Protection Institute, 916-447-3085 x205