STUDENTS PUT DOWNPUPS UQ Controversy; Animal Rights Campaigners Condemn ,Cyinhumane' Training

Article excerpt

Byline: MELANIE MAESEELE melanie.maeseele@qt.com.au

THE University of Queensland has defended the euthanising of abandoned pets by veterinary students at its Gatton campus.

The university is now the last in Australia to allow students to practise surgery on healthy, live animals which are subsequently destroyed.

More than 3000 animals have been transferred to the UQ campus from Logan City Council's pounds in recent years, but precise figures on how many have been put down have not been revealed.

UQ's head of veterinary science, Professor Jonathan Hill, claimed students only performed surgery on animals destined to be put down in any case.

"Students perform surgery on animals that have been previously deemed unsuitable for re-homing and are to be euthanised by council," he told The Queensland Times.

But animal rights campaigner Simone Hewitt, who used to work at Logan pound, said UQ's stance was indefensible.

"As an ex-worker of Logan Pound I was specifically instructed by the university to supply dogs of specific weights and sex for their drug trialling," she said.

"What they are doing is inhumane; there is no other way to describe it."

Ms Hewitt said she believed the council could be doing much more to find homes for abandoned pets. Ipswich City Council and Brisbane City Council do not transfer unwanted animals to UQ.

The policy has caused division among veterinary students.

UQ Veterinary Students Association former president and fifth-year veterinary student Phil Kowalski said: "Working on animals is absolutely beneficial to our learning. …