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Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

Ross University Saga Continues …

Written by PETA | April 2, 2008

So a while back, I posted an entry on these here PETA Files calling out the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine about numerous photographs we had received documenting the mutilation of animals who were forced to undergo multiple surgeries before being killed and cut apart at the university. Sounds like a pretty reasonable point for an animal protection organization to raise with a veterinary school, but our letters to the university met with enough resistance that we decided to launch an action alert encouraging people to contact the school about the issue.

The good news is that, after a few weeks of back and forth, the Ross folks cancelled all invasive and terminal dog surgeries, something that we—and a whole lot of dogs—were extremely grateful for. As my friend Shalin points out in his recent letter to the local newspaper, it’s totally cool by us if they want to claim that this development was a coincidence and had nothing to do with our requests—as long as they’re making the changes, that’s the important thing.

But we’re not quite finished yet. Ross is still conducting invasive and terminal surgeries on donkeys and sheep, and that needs to stop, like, ASAP. Plenty of veterinary schools are able to teach students to help animals without killing them first, and Ross should join that club sooner rather than later. They’ve already taken an important step in the right direction. I’ll keep you posted on how it all turns out.

Shalin_letter_re_Ross_University.jpg

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  • Diana says:

    A You are mean

  • Kim says:

    You know what is amazing to me the fact that St. Kitts is being attacked again and again. Yes we do have wild dogs and yes animals are mistreated as they are in every country in the world. It amazes me how persons who claim to be educated can travel to different cultures and judge without first trying to understand it. If some of these very people who are claiming that St. Kitts is an island that supports the torture of animals would have taken the time to really know Kittitians they would understand the difference in the culture. Most Kittitians for many years never had the luxury of having pets. You had livestock and guard dogs. When you are struggling to make ends meet you cannot afford to have a pet and if you do you certainly cannot afford to take care of it in the same way that persons better off than you would be able to. Yes I wish some persons would be more kind but I also have to admit that there has been a change in the overall view of animals. We are having more and more pets as the years go by and many of us love them as our own flesh. Our culture was not originally one that had pets and beside Ross there were at one point very few if any places to take a sick pet. Today it is better and getting better still but we are no more evil than any other country where this stuff occurs. We are not a heartless culture. For many of us the idea of animal hospitals and so forth are very new as these were just not available in the past. We are being judged on the same level as a country like the US where this has been a part of their culture now for generations when resources and information concerning such is still fairly new to our culture.

  • star says:

    yes i am 23 and i LOVE animals no matter what kind they are. i have tried very HARD to become a vegetarian and i guess it will only take time. uhm i hate seeing how these animals are treated. i want to help some way but there is no way i can give money i have two babies and we already have a bit of money problems does any one know how i could help without money. please contact me at starbeccaymail.com i would really apreciate it.!!!

  • rossstudent says:

    bryanflynn I was a senior student on rotations when that horse died. You are absolutely not telling the truth about what happened. The horses name was Jeremy and had been in the care of ross for 12 years. Although the actual age was not known she was probably around 28 years old. That horse fell over in the pasture and fractured her ilium. That horse has never had a surgery at ross university no horse gets surgery there. Donkeys get some surgery there. So that horse didnt get operated on and then abused in the rain and then forced to fracture a leg and die. That is a lie. The 7th semester students on call stayed with that horse all night and monitored while giving IV fluid. The next morning they gave a pain med and the horse didnt have enough life left in it to survive at 28 yrs old and stopped breathing. Get your facts straigt and stop lying.

  • laura says:

    I appreciate all of the views of those who have left post before myself. However I would like to say this PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS! if you want future vets to stop using animals for terminal surgeries please spend the hundreds of thousands it would cost to put a digital system in place. The school is a privately own business and that is the bottom line. Ross is in the Carib often the animals the school takes care of are getting better health care than the locals. So if you want change instead of running down the reputation of hundreds of vet students who are trying to learn to save your animals please start a fund for replacing what you believe is an unfortunate method of learning.

  • BryanFlynn says:

    Hello ProudRUSVMGrad I posted my experiences to provided people with information that they may use at there own discretion to make an educated decision. On there own accord completely. I can give you names and information on “professors” full time or visiting names of security guards and even names of a few of the women who serve in the cafeteria and even what they serve on any given day. Heck i can even give you the names of the contractors working on some of the schools addition atm. Even the directors! However I was under the impression that this forum was not about attacking character. I think you may want to go somewhere else for personal slander and attacks. I am completely open to any debate you may want to discuss concerning Ross University or forum topic. This isnt Ross so unfortunately they can not shut this forum down. Thank you for your input.

  • ProudRUSVMGrad says:

    I am a proud Ross graduate and I did not witness any of the barbaric behaviour that you are claiming BraynFlynn. The professors on campus took the same veterinary oath that I took. It is my opinion but I do not even believe you are a student. It is going to take more than your badgering to ruin the excellent reputation that Ross University puts forth in the States.

  • BryanFlynn says:

    This has been just a topographic and mild detailed discussion and Im sorry for my poor writing skills. I have detailed information but need to remain anonymous. I wanted to mention this once as to put things into perspective. I have a professor here at Ross who once asked me for the zip code for Kansas while I waited for hishers office hours. Obviously I found this strange. I mentioned meekly that there maybe hundreds of zip codes for Kansas bad idea. HeShe sighed. The level of ineptitude here borders on the imbecilic and they treat all animals the same. Animal cruelty here prevails. I have seen some people cry underestimate. Ive seen rooms evacuated because no one knows the appropriate way to ventilate formaldehyde. I have seen students quickly evacuated from a stall due to the possibility of bad press Now. I have seen the tears in the eyes of not only the animals being subjected to barbaric and wildly outdated surgical techniques but also in the eyes of the good students involved. Island animal cruelty is ferocious and hard to monitor It wont stop until someone kicks them in the pocket book. I have adopted an animal from Ross University. There are scars all over him. Physical ones and im sure mental ones..

  • BryanFlynn says:

    In summation I believe that the school not only needs guidance on animal cruelty cruelty that could even make an American blush but also a lesson in human civil liberties. To my fellow students everyone here students on the island need to remember that Ross is in the carib. Here civil and animal rights do not get the attention we have grown accustomed to in the western world. Keep in mind that even if it is well within the constitution of St. Kitts and Nevis problems are seldom if at all rectified. It is almost a lawless federation. Any school can get away with just about anything here do your own research dont believe me and they dont feel like they have to answer to anyone. And they dont. But PLEASE keep your mouth shut unless you want to be sent home. Ive learned my lesson and am still here. I stress that you heed my advice. If you dont you will have parents and other loved ones questioning why you got expelled for signing a petition.

  • brianflynn says:

    I am currently a student at Ross University Devry and I can tell you for certain that they have not change one thing. Here is an example. About a week ago we were supposed to study the physiology topology of a live horse. It had been raining all day and this horse had already received multiple surgeries. Consequently this animal sunk into the mud by about one foot where it then tried to free itself. After a few minutes of struggle it broke its leg and started to bleed everywhere. They ushered us out post haste. We believe and hope that the horse was put down afterwards. If you ask ANYONE in a position who should know the whereabouts of this animal they say they dont and get a bit indignant. I wish to remain completely anonymous due to the fact that and heed this warning any Ross student whom even decides to signup for ONE petition just one are summarily expelled or put on probation. And yes they even monitor all threads on Facebook pertaining to Ross University. As a future vet with a love for animals I understand that when you are done with Ross granted you are like minded you will do more good then the harm you may have caused providing this institution with your time and money. On that same note if you are a Ross Student and want to stay at Ross I ask you please to post anything negative you have to say anonymously.

  • Groorbjar says:

    Hello my friends

  • Ross Grad says:

    Nothing can top learning from a live animal. Books models and cadavers can only give you a brief insight into the wonderful world of a living body. Can a model give a student the source of hemorrhage from an abberant vessel that was not depicited in the anatomy books? Can a cadaver prepare a doctor to be prepared for when there is anesthetic complications which happen in everyday life? It is my opinion that those who have a problem with this are closed minded poorly informed individuals. Would you rather go to a doctor or a veterinarian with more experience or one that learned simply out of manuals and computer models. Open your mind and stop being so ignorrant.

  • nino says:

    proud ross grad you seem to have some poor information about learning on dissection aren’t there enough corpses to learn on?

  • Anon Ymous says:

    I am a proud graduate of Ross University. And yes surgeries were performed on these animals. Many of these animals are stray and in poor condition. Bloodwork is taken on them and they are treated for conditions if they are not considered healthy for anesthesia. I was objected to euthanasia of our surgery dog and donkey. After much discussion with the professor our semester was the first granted with an option to recover their surgery dog rather than euthanize. I am very proud of this as many others following our class are too. Our donkey was also not euthanized!

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Luke I am also a biologist currently in grad school I respectfully disagree a bit with what you said. As long as people are allowing cats to roam free outdoors and there are no laws against it there will be a never ending supply of cats. It is well documented that when a feral cat colony gets exterminated another just moves in to its place. This is similar to the uselessness of beaver trapping. We don’t have the right to destroy a single stray cat until people are willing to stop the revolving door effect and take responsibility for their own actions. After all human overpopulation is literally destroying the planet you don’t think we should exterminate ourselves do you? We have to change our behavior before we exterminate lives. Yes strays can suffer I’ve never been dead have you? How do you know it’s better? No disrespect intended nice to meet a fellow biologist!! Peace!

  • Luke says:

    I am a wildlife biology graduate who is going to vet school. Looking at the world’s animal populations it is easy to see that euthanasia is necessary. When animal populations get out of control the competition leads to starvation and massive disease spread. It seems better to learn from the animals than to have them roam the streets waiting to get tortured by locals. If the island populations need to be culled to promote a healthy ecosystem and pest free cities than why not let vet students do it. Preforming the surgeries would cause them some pain but it is minimal as compared to starvation and conflicts arising from large populations. The animals probably get better food and care during their stay at Ross than next to a person ready to kill it with a bat.

  • Kristie says:

    Has anyone actually been to St. Kitts? The majority of Kittitians treat animals terribly. Every day my sister sees dead animals on the side of the road. In her fifth semester when she did a necropsy of a donkey it had skid marks on it because it was run over by a car. The school does not want to euthanize all of the animals that come in that were injured and they encourage students to rescue them. My sister has already rescued a cat from the island. The way my sister explained it to me is that sixth and seventh semester students are the ones that perform surgeries only the animals that are already sick or injured. After the animals are finished with surgery the second semester students learn how to euthanize the animal properly. The whole point in letting third second students operate on animals is because they need to practice and they need real life experience. Who wants a veterinarian who has done a surgery once operating on their pet? Proud Ross Grad my sister knows one of the girls that did contact PETA. She a fifth semester student and the rest of students can not figure out why she did this. She has already participated in some unethical treatment of animals so I feel she a hypocrite.

  • Proud Ross Grad says:

    First off I agree 100 with A and Brent’s comments. Secondly I have heard that Ross students contacted PETA which is what initiated this whole mess. I think those students should have researched the school that they were attending and if they objected to these labs they should not have attended in the first place. I can understand people objecting to the use of animals in certain educational situations. For instance I do not think that dissection is necessary in any basic science classes. However if one will be going into a field where it may benefit them then they should perform dissections in order to learn. Likewise as A and Brent already said I would not want to be doing my first surgery on anyone’s personal pet. As a Ross grad I valued those surgeries and found my surgical skills to be much better than other people I know who graduated from other vet programs. I think that anyone who has such a strong opinion on Ross needs to go to St. Kitts and see things before they make any judgements. Some people may criticize me for not leaving my name however being a professional I do not have time to put up with crazy PETA people harassing me

  • Natasha says:

    I think the problem with only operating on sick animals in St. Kitts might just be geographical. I mean it’s not that big so perhaps they have to use healthy animals due to not having enough sick ones? Compare it to UPenn or Cornell which theoretically have access to hundreds of sick or injured animals in city shelters.

  • Shalin says:

    I just wanted to respond to some people’s comments Mabel Ross’ small animal surgery course involved cutting open the stomachs intestines and urinary bladders of nearly 100 healthy dogs every year after which they would be killed for anatomy labs. Given the high number of healthy animals whose lives will be spared this is a significant change in course for Ross and we are pleased that the university has taken this first step towards a humane curriculum. But there is still much to do as sheep and donkeys are set to be mutilated and killed in the upcoming weeks. At Ross sheep have tissue removed and suffer from infected wounds because skin flaps are improperly sutured. Donkeys have the nerves in their toes severed their ligaments cut plastic tubes inserted through their noses to their stomachs their abdomens punctured their tracheas windpipes cut and fluid removed from their jointsafter which they are killed so that students can practice amputating animals bones and drilling into their skulls. A We are not suggesting that Ross vets never perform surgeries on live animals. We are primarily objecting to the fact that Ross students are being forced to cut into and kill healthy animals. If they choose not to participate they receive a failing grade. Surely you would agree that it’s a far better scenario for students to learn from unhealthy animals in a veterinary teaching hospital whereby the animals would actually benefit from veterinary interventions. In fact Dr. Daniel Smeak Director of the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Colorado State University wrote to PETA this month “It is hard to argue that the OPTIMAL learning experience for students and faculty at Ross would not be provided by an onsite teaching hospital. Teaching laboratories could be replaced or enhanced by the experiences students obtain on the hospital floor with real clinical patients.” Brent I agree that animals in St. Kitts are generally not treated well. As I stated in my letter to the editor above a student at Ross wrote to PETA about how animals are treated in the community The dogs are beaten and poisoned regularly. They roam the streets emaciated and flearidden. They are run over and left to die or run around on broken limbs. The cats are killed out of spite . This is why we are advocating that Ross’ parent company DeVry Inc. fund the development of a veterinary teaching hospital that would allow students to learn on unhealthy animals who need care while also helping animals in the St. Kitts community. Regarding your comment that medical doctors “need” to use animals to become proficient surgeons this is simply not supported by the facts as the vast majority of medical schools in the United States including toptier schools like Harvard have ended their use of animals for the primary 4year curriculum. Also it is important to keep in mind that for veterinary training British veterinary schools do not perform any harmful invasive or terminal procedures on animals. Instead British veterinary schools train their students how to treat unhealthy animals who will actually benefit from the veterinary interventions. This is a winwin situation for students and the animals and the fact that British schools can do it shows that humane veterinary training is feasible with the right amount of ingenuity and planning. This is the reasonable standard that we are asking Ross University to meet. Thanks everyone. Hope this is helpful. Shalin G. Gala Senior Researcher Laboratory Investigations Department People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals PETA

  • Ana says:

    Brent Walker Specious argument. Because no one cares it is alright to perform all types of invasive surgery on them??? Education serves to change people’s attitudes towards the other animals.

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Brent I am so sorry to hear about the sad stray problem on the island. It’s a tragedy I’ve spent my life trying to fight. The school is noble trying to rescue these animals. The only thing is after having euthanized hundreds of shelter animals myself I know that killing a stray is not humane. No normal animal wants to die human or cat or dog. If you or I were strays we would find happiness where we could and personally I would want to be allowed to live and take my chances. I know we say that it’s more humane to euthanized but I’ve never been dead. Have you? How do we know it’s better? It’s easy to say that they would get euthanized or killed anyway but that seems like just an excuse to take advantage of the stray population. It is not up to us to decide who lives or dies unless the animal is really suffering and fatally ill or is aggressive. I think it’s okay for the school to take in and have students give care to strays but they then have an ethical obligation to have as long as it takes to find them a home. I realize there’s much I don’t know about the situation but I do beleive that death is not better than the one life we are all given. Peace.

  • Pamela L. says:

    Victories are always to be embraced complacencynever! tough spelling day.

  • brent says:

    Kelly You got your dvm from where? As far as I know Ross does hold free spay clinics for the community. I think you miss my point. I am all for the betterment of animal wellfare but if you had ever been to the island of St. Kitts you would know that there are so many other issues and problems on that island that need to be tackled. These people are from a completely different culture than you or I are accustomed to. They believe that it is completely ok to starve withhold water torture and maim animals. Humane euthanasia would be much better than the torture these dogs and cats experience on a daily basis on the streets of St. Kitts. There is alot of work that needs to be done on that island. If you are truely concerned I suggest you travel to St. Kitts spend time there and see first hand the reality of the situation. Anyone can post a message on a board but it takes a strong willed individual to actual take the time and effort to make a difference.

  • kelly says:

    Brent Walker try moving into today. Universities have been dropping dog labs for some time. It is INFERIOR schools that continue to use INFERIOR methods. Just imagine if Ross was getting its act together and opening up free spay clinics instead of catering to silly Americans who couldn’t make the cut into a more advanced school?

  • Brent Walker says:

    Instead of focusing on the vet school you should be focusing on educating the local populace about animal care and welfare. No one spaysneuters dogs and cats on the island and unwanted animals run rampant on St. Kitts. It is a common practice by the locals to torture animals and i have been witness to one instance where a local tossed boiling water at a dog she considered a pest. Ross University offers free spay clincs to the community in order to both help combat this problem as well as gaining valuable experience for their students. As far as the other live surgeries go they are done on animals that are roam the streets and would have been euthanized anyway. The surgeries are always performed under anesthesia and the patients are all given pain meds postop. The animals are very well fed and taken care of throughout the entire semester and often times students fall in love with their surgery dogs and end up taking them home at the end of the semester. So some of these animals do get a 2nd chance for a great life that they never would of had if left on the streets to be tortured. In my opinion it is far nobler for the animal to give its life to save others than for it to be euthanized for no reason. You can NOT gain the necessary experience needed to be a competent surgeon without live experience if you were in the medical profession you would know this. You tell me would u rather have a cardiac surgeon doing your heart transplant that has had actual experience with the procedure or one that has just practiced on cadavors? Now the same holds true for your pet’s veterinarian. I would never take mine to a new veterinarian if i knew that their school did not do live animal surgeries. I lived in St. Kitts for over 3 years and Ross University should be praised for the amount of work they do to protect animal rights and educate the populace on proper treatment and care of animals.

  • lynda downie says:

    That’s just such good news! Thanks Peta and Shalin for your continued work for animals on St. Kitts.

  • A says:

    the animals used in these procedures are scheduled for euthanasia already and as far as I know peta does not oppose euthanizing animals. As long as the animals are properly anesthetized I see no problem with these procedures. I know I would be much more comfortable with my vet having performed a live surgery rather than only dissection before operating on my pet. Some animal has to be a vet student’s first surgery what is so wrong with performing that surgery on an animal that is already going to be euthed?

  • HannaBanana says:

    Wow…glad for some progress but you’re right Jack the rest has to stop like Yesterday! My Mom was in a Vet program a few years ago but the never did any type of unnecessary surgery on any animal! That’s horrible! Rather they took animals that were brought to the local animal shelter and did whatever was necessary to bring the animal back to health…and that’s it…that’s how she got her Pit Bull….because it was a rescue Pit they were going to euthanize it because they normally didn’t adopt them out again the negative stereotype about these awesome dogs but she said “Over my dead body you are!” o I wonder about these people that are the animal testers…Along with my wish that the Canadian Seal hunters fall through the ice is that harsh? I also hope that animal testers have chronic nonstop gas for the rest of their lives…

  • Mabel says:

    I read elsewhere that they only changed the curriculum regarding one surgery in one class. That is hardly a big change and it is most unlikely that they changed in response to any pressure from PETA. If they changed in response to pressure they would have changed far more than one surgery out of many.

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Great post Jack. And Shalin that is an excellent letter! Thank you! Jack I imagine that at least some of readers of this blog may go on to be veterinary professionals I hope PETA can clean up the system by that time and maybe PETA can list some “good” vet and vet tech schools? Unless they already do I’d love to see the list.