Western University Body Snatchers

Remember when Boks was telling the media that Western University vets and students were going to come to Animal Services to provide help?

Nothing ever happened.

Therefore, because of their generosity, Boks has decided they can come and choose a couple of hundred animals a year from the shelters, kill them and take them home for dissection for the education of their students.

Boks will present this to the Commission on Monday:


SUBJECT: Use of Deceased Animals for Veterinary Medical Education by Western University of Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine


That the Board approve conveyance of deceased animals to Western University of Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, for veterinary education purposes, not to exceed 200 deceased animals per calendar year.


Western University of Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, has requested participation of the Department in their program to train new veterinarians. Specifically, Western University will request at least 50, but no more than 200 per calendar year, of selected deceased animals to use for veterinary education purposes.

Selection criteria will be very specific and based on the medical rationale used in their being selected for euthanasia. Western University staff will consult with Department medical staff in making those selections.

These specimens will be used exclusively for learning purposes at Western University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Respect for the inherent value of the animals will require special care in handling the remains. All animal remains will ultimately be cremated and a memorial service provided. This program is designed to help provide a greater quality of education to future generations of veterinarians committed to helping animals.


There is no fiscal impact to Animal Services. Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine will provide all transportation and specimen preparation costs.

Hey, why not? The wonderful staff and students decided not to come here and help out, but instead will send their body snatchers to choose and kill the animals that best suit their needs. Far out!!

Look Western University, you have a lot of animals out in San Bernadino to kill. Don't come here. Where were you when there was a vet shortage here?

In theory it is a fair idea. But the animals chosen should be those the staff chooses to kill based on fatal illness or injury; that is, animals that really should be euthanized.

Boks may actually claim this is what they will do, but don't believe him. They still will set the criteria out of sight.

Look you guys. Help get the rest of the Mason cats out of West Valley. Staff will release them to whomever. The cost is $27 if they are spay/neutered, $55 if not. I will spring for half the fee. Leave a comment and we'll arrange a visit with Ron Mason to select the ones to go. They are still in the evidence room.


Anonymous said...

Who do we call about our opposition to allowing vet students to PICK which animals can be killed?

This is ridiculous. I understand vet students need to study, but to allow them to have any say PRIOR to killing is unfathomable -- what? "Hey, THAT one looks interesting" or "THIS one has optimal musculo-skeletal structure -- I want THIS one!"

Absolutely insane, especially if in return for the privilege of studying dead animals they don't have to do anything to help living animals.

Exactly WHAT does Boks have to do before someone says, "This man has neither the credentials, nor the judgement necessary to be an even adequate GM"? Would he actually have to butcher a cat in the middle of Wilshire Blvd.? Not that Antonio Villaraigosa would care if he did, after all, "They're just animals," aren't they, Antonio?

Anonymous said...

Go to the Monday morning commission meeting to voice your opposition. What an incompetent, uncaring ass Boks is. Picking animals to kill for learning purposes? Sounds like we are nowhere near headed towards "no-kill" while Boks is here. It sounds like the school won't even have to pay for the corpses? This is WRONG!!!!

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Anonymous said...

Although your concern is very commendable, it sounds like you’re grossly misinterpreting what is going on. Nowhere in that proposal does it say WesternU faculty and students would be choosing which animals die. It says the school would be taking dead animals, and only dead animals that they believe were euthanized due to serious illness. It repeatedly says selected dead animals. It NEVER says selected live animals which would then be euthanized.

I am a student at WesternU. I, and probably many of my classmates, chose this school specifically for its Reverance for Life Philosphy. The only animals WesternU students ever work on are animals that died of natural causes or were euthanized for humane reasons. The WesternU staff is never involved in the decision to euthanize the animals, and will only take animals that were euthanized due to serious and fatal illness or injury. Furthermore, while other veterinary schools take shelter animals and perform a bunch of unnecessary surgeries on it to better their surgical skills, only to euthanize it the end, WesternU refuses to participate in such learning. Instead, cadavers that died of natural causes or were euthanized for humane reasons and models are used for the initial development of surgical skills. When capable, students will eventually assist in/perform only necessary surgeries (including correction of naturally occurring diseases or elective sterilization) on live animals… surgeries that will allow them to continue on in their life as healthy animals. Finally, WesternU students are NEVER involved in the selection of cadavers used in the anatomy lab. The first time we ever see them is in lab, during which we may ask about the history of the animal. The history includes the name of the animal, any information the owner may have wanted us to know, and the reason the animal died or was euthanized. I think that this allows us to honor the memory of the animal as we learn. I can also tell you that the reasons we were told the animals were euthanized always correlates well with what we find on gross dissection in terms of changes caused by the pathology of the disease.

My understanding of the proposal is that the medical staffs at these shelters are often euthanizing animals due to severe disease, illness, or injury. After the decision has been made by the shelter to euthanize the animals, the staff at WesternU determines if the reason to euthanize falls in line with their strict guidelines for cadavers. If so, and the need exists for that cadaver, they will take it for students to learn on.

Although I am not sure if and why students are not working in LA shelters, I can assure you that students are not merely enjoying the privilege of studying dead animals without doing anything the help living animals, as one poster put it. The students do extensive work all 4 years with animals, including shelter animals. In the first 2 years, students work with the VACs program, which is an ambulatory program that goes to local shelters and rescue groups to provide care for these animals, as well as the animals of the homeless, sick, or underprivileged populations of the LA and Inland Empire areas. In the second 2 years students do rotations in shelters. Also, there are clubs dedicated to shelter medicine, in which students volunteer in shelters on their “off” time, run fundraisers for rescue organizations, participate in the capture-spay/neuter-and-release program in LA (Bestfriends Catnippers), and run spay-and-neuter days for the underprivileged. Most students are also fostering animals from rescue groups. There is also an emergency response team of students and faculty that volunteers to help animals in any way possible when disaster hits… this group was very involved with rescuing and caring for animals during the wildfires this fall.

I hope I have helped to clear up any misunderstanding and grossly irresponsible rumors. I am very proud to be going to a school with a policy as strict as this one and hope that other veterinary schools will follow in our path.

Anonymous said...

The way it is worded here, I wonder whether the Western U student above is right or wrong.

How do you read what Boks writes?

Selection criteria will be very specific and based on the medical rationale used in their being selected for euthanasia. Western University staff will consult with Department medical staff in making those selections.

Anonymous said...

Although it has taken a while for LAAS to get on board with the 4th-year Western U. externship program, the first student will be spending four weeks at East Valley and other shelters in August.

In the coming years it is expected that LAAS will be a regular off-site location for training of veterinary students in the discipline of shelter medicine.

It would be wise to listen to what the faculty at Western U. has to propose before passing judgment on them. This is what educated people do.

Ed Muzika said...

Wouldn't it have been wise to mention in the agenda note that WU faculty was making a proposal prior to the request for unilateral action on the department's part?

The notice only said WU was making a request for 200 corpses for their educational purposes. There was no mention of an externship program nor any other context.

Apparently the proposal is going to be presented somewhere down the line? Right? Not at the meeting tomorrow?

It is still not clear who makes the euth decision, and whether WU submits beforehand its criteria for the selection of animals or what. That is, what is the selection protocol?

If Charlotte Laws put out a warning notice, isn't it clear that no one understood the context of the WU request for bodies?

Wouldn't it have been wise to not make that snotty and patronizing remark at the end of your comment?