Someone has been sending comments to my blog that I ought to leave alone the story about how cats are obtained for dissection by vet students at Pierce, and that I should be doing more investigative reporting about the City and County shelters. That wouldn't be you, would it?
It is strange to get several comments that I should leave a story alone that does not involve public shelters or officials, and only involves the relationship between Pierce and Carolina Biological. It is also strange that the comments started coming to my blog at the same time you stopped answering my emails.
Carolina Biological has refused to respond to any and all requests for specific shelters that they allege supply them with cat cadavers. And, of course, I sent you information about their history of violating animal welfare laws, such as embalming cats alive revealed in undercover videos taken by PETA followed by citations by the federal government.
In fact, the PETA investigation revealed that Carolina stated even then what they are still stating now, that all the cat cadavers supplied are from shelters, when in fact most were coming from Mexico where they were picked off the street by the poor. Of course, this was 14 years ago and things may have changed for the better.
The entire story is below on an earlier posting on this blog at the URL below.
There are the legal issues involved around shelters selling cadavers, to resellers, not the least of which they are considered toxic waste due to the Fatal Plus injections. Some cities also require a specific ordinance to allow this.
In undated legal papers on the web, Carolina supplied two alleged shelter contact numbers. On calling, I found neither phone numbers are for the public shelters indicated and one is a FAX.
Even then there are the moral issues, as you as a bioethicist should be concerned with, as are all related issues of pound seizure: how are the animals chosen to be killed?
If Carolina wants only healthy cats from shelters, that means adoptable cats that likely could find a home are killed for profit. Healthy cats in LA's shelter system, if not under 8 week old kittens or feral, have a fairly high rate of adoption.
This means that an estimated 100,000 adoptable cats are killed nationally just for high school lab use. I wonder how many more are killed for college anatomy classes and pre-vet training across the country.
These and ethical and legal issues that directly involve you and Pierce. I think you need share your opinions on these issues publicly, and perhaps debate with local animal rights spokespersons if you are up to it. I hope you share with your students that the source of the cadavers you use is Carolina Biological, and that you cannot personally vouch for the truth of their statements regarding the source of the cats dissected at Pierce.
You do teach a course called Animal Science Ethical and Legal Issues. I certainly think Pierce College's use of dissected cats from unknown sources is first an investigative issue, then legal and ethical issues.
I would be concerned about pre-vet students who were not concerned about where the cadavers came from.
Another curiosity issue, if Carolina gets skinned cat cadavers from shelters, why do they not sell skinned dog cadavers? Why skinned cats and not dogs? Is the cat anatomy enough transferable to dog anatomy for pre-vet training that dog cadavers are not needed? Or, is it that the moral and ethical issues are more palpable when dogs are involved? Why species discrimination?
There are many issues to be explored here including your branding of animal rights groups as America's new extremists, and your very public opposition to these groups.
Edward Muzika, Ph.D.