SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Live-Surgery Practicals in Graduate or Veterinary Education

Animals in Research, Testing and Teaching

SPCA advocates for the creation and use of educational resources that provide humane alternatives to live-surgery practicals, such as the use of ethically-sourced cadavers and computer software and simulations.

SPCA opposes the practice of performing surgeries on live vertebrate and invertebrate animals in educational institutions for the purposes of teaching surgical techniques where surgical intervention has no benefit to the animal.

An acceptable exclusion to the above is the involvement of veterinary students operating on animals under appropriate supervision and where that the surgery has a positive animal welfare benefit.

Our organisation is concerned that taking part in or observing live-surgery practicals on animals who do not need the surgery (whether followed by humane killing or recovery) can lead to desensitisation and a lessening of respect for animal life. Where live-surgery practicals on animals who do not need the surgery take place, students should not be forced to perform or watch the procedure. Students who wish to withdraw from watching or participating these practicals should be respected without penalty, and acceptable and humane alternatives should instead be provided to allow those students to meet the requirements of the course.

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