A statement from Virginia Tech and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
October 9, 2020
At Virginia Tech and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, our mission and values call us to respect and uphold the human/animal bond and the dignity of all animals and people; to offer preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic services within a compassionate environment; and to seek to relieve suffering and promote the well-being of both animals and people through the responsible conduct of clinical, biomedical, and public health research.
The university is committed to the highest standards of care for all teaching and research animals. This is evidenced by our voluntary participation in AAALAC International accreditation and the efforts of faculty, researchers, and staff who work diligently to ensure that all animals are treated humanely.
As part of the veterinary curriculum, faculty do work with dogs in the classroom to teach students how best to care for animals as they seek to become veterinarians. All teaching activities are subject to external examination and approval before any animals can take part in an activity. Upon completion of the curriculum, all dogs are given for adoption and never euthanized. The university purchases these animals only from vendors that maintain USDA licenses and AAALAC International accreditation and seeks to acquire these animals from a vendor that is geographically proximate to Blacksburg to minimize transport of animals.
Before any research project is initiated, it is thoroughly reviewed and must be approved by an independent group of conscientious individuals composed not only of university scientists and veterinarians, but also individuals from the university and community who are not involved in animal research. They are committed to the principles that animals should only be used if every effort to find a suitable non-animal alternative has failed, and when animals are used, only the most humane and ethical methods should be used on the smallest number of animals required to obtain valid information.
Animal research programs at Virginia Tech have led to several breakthroughs in medical care, including the recent development of recombinant DNA vaccines and novel therapeutics for human brain tumors. These example underscore both the respect that the Virginia Tech community has for the human/animal bond and the unique ability that animal research programs have to uplift the wellbeing of animals and people. Thus, the questions that PETA has recently raised about three research projects that were completed between four and seven years ago, with allegations of reckless behavior, are simply without merit.
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