Letter from a Western University professor:
Subject: Western University College of Vet Med and Reverence for Life
You need to know some things about our college.
Reverence for Life is one of our college's three founding principles. There is NO WAY EVER that any of us would be involved in selecting animals for euthanasia – or in any way, shape or form encouraging that any animal ever be harmed or killed for our
We believe in it! We are committed to it!
Whatever emotion you all may feel in hearing this rumor is MILD compared to the outrage and uproar that would occur in both our faculty and student body if there was ever to be an attempt to deviate from this cornerstone of our philosophy – and one of
our greatest points of pride. This college would explode!
We take great pride in the fact that our commitment to graduating veterinarians with excellent anatomy and surgical skills without ever harming a living animal.
Because our college has taken this principled stance other veterinary colleges are being pressured to end their terminal surgery programs, and soon that practice will be history.
Our commitment to Reverence for Life is integral and ongoing. The faculty meet regularly to continue to review everything we do and to continue to try to improve both the quality of the education we provide and the ethical processes and decisions about how we accomplish that. This is not something we signed on to and put in a drawer. We live and breathe it every single day.
We have a Willed Body program that is modeled after the human cadaver program for our College of Osteopathy. Pet guardians have the option, after their loved pets have passed on, of donating their cadavers to our college. There are strict rules and
procedures about how we and the donors have those discussions to insure that even on an individual basis there is no chance that the donation to our program plays any role in decisions they make about their pets while alive.
I myself have donated two of my most beloved companions to this program. I did so because I knew about how respectfully they would be treated and what a contribution to the future well being of the many,many animals these future veterinarians would save (including my own).
Each year we have a memorial service for these pets and their donors often attend. Once the pets have completed their service to our college they are cremated, and if desired, returned to their guardians.
It is possible that we will open up this program to one or more shelters to donate a few cadavers a year. That idea is under consideration, but is not yet resolved. It is not possible that we will ever be involved in any action anywhere that would generate any incentives to select or rush the end of an animal's life for our programs.
All the best,
Associate Professor in Biomedical Ethics and Public Policy
Western University of Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine
(909)469-5524 office phone
This is a comment recently posted. I too and many others have seen the original report which was quite clear that WU staff and LAAS vet staff would pick ahead of time which selected animal would be taken back to WU.
Many people read the announcement as did I, including the head of DAWS and the ADL. Now, it may be that the corpses are selected AFTER they have been killed and Boks calls Barrett at WU and says we have a 15 year old cat with an adeno carcinoma in the sinuses, do you want it? Be here in a few hours will you before the cat starts to stink.
So how does that jive with Boks statement that the corpses will be selected by both staffs based on some criteria? I wish the process was more carefully explained so that everyone is still not left wondering how much involvement will WU have in selecting the animals to be dissected? Do they wait until and animal is dead, or do they select before the animal is dead knowing euthanasia is about to take place?
AS much as I appreciate Ms Barrett's letter, she needs to read the initial report that was posted on the LAAS website. It stated that the WU staff would be involved in selecting animals for "euthanasia." There was no implying, no "jumping on bandwagons." If these were just rumors, why did Ed have to revise his report? I have a copy of the original report. I read it over and over again. It truly says the staff would be part of selecting the likely candidates for euthanasia so they could take the corpses.
I think the willed body approach is good for private vets, but not for public shelters. It's one thing to will the body of an animal whose person fought to save it. It's another when an animal is killed at a shelter. Any which way you look at it, WU is banking on the killing of animals. For them to say they revere life and they aren't doing the killing is ridiculous. They may not be physically present, but they may as well be.
Also, what message does this give society that already sees animals as disposable? Is it okay to dump them because their death benefits future vets? Hey, don't worry that you just sent your animal to a certain death, you're really doing a great service allowing him to be dissected.
Oh, the memorial is a nice touch. But really, dead is dead and the animals won't be coming back to thank them for being burned versus boiled. Given the option, my guess is the animal would rather just stay alive.