Eastern Europe

Successes in Odesa and Kharkiv

As part of our Eastern Europe project which we conduct in cooperation with InterNICHE, we provided two more departments in Ukraine with animal-free teaching material, thus further advancing humane teaching.

Odesa State Agrarian University

Department of Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Biochemistry

The story of the relationship with Odesa State Agrarian University began when rector Mikhail Broshkov approached Nick Jukes of InterNICHE. As a representative of the young, progressive, and open-minded generation, Prof. Broshkov was looking for modern, humane approaches in education. Nick Jukes contacted our Ukrainian project partner Dimitrij Leporskij, which resulted in fruitful Skype conversations. Prof. Broshkov was very interested in the introduction of a wide range of software, models, and simulations.

As a first step, the Department of Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Biochemistry was to receive animal-free teaching material. Dimitrij Leporskij visited Odesa in February 2020 and was met by an open-minded team of teachers, who were sincerely interested in positive changes.

Vasil Naida, the dean of the department, recalled the times of the USSR, when experiments on Pavlovian conditioning, for which dogs had fistulas inserted in the mouth to collect saliva, were common. Soon after the USSR collapsed, funding ceased, which considerably reduced the number of animal experiments in teaching. All that remains is a small number of demonstrational experiments on frogs.

All of these experiments can easily be replaced by animal-free methods. In addition, they have become entirely obsolete after the adoption of distance learning.

The Department of Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Biochemistry received a laptop, a projector, and a large amount of CDs and DVDs. According to the contract, which was signed on February 9th 2021, no more animal experiments are to be conducted in the class “Physiology of animals” from September 1st 2021. Up until now, 128 frogs and 28 rats per year were killed for that curriculum. Apart from the ”classic” experiments on the physiology of nerves, muscles, and the heart, parts of the frogs’ brains were removed, and rats were used to study the effects of insulin.

It was agreed that as soon as the department successfully implements the donated materials into the curriculum, other departments will join the project.

From left to right: Natalia Stepanova, microbiology department assistant, Jury Boiko, professor at the Department of Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Biochemistry, Katerina Radionova, dean of the Faculty for Veterinary Medicine, Vasil Naida, dean of the Department of Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Biochemistry, Maria Khimich, professor at the Department for Veterinary Hygiene 

Kharkiv National Pedagogical University

Ecological and Bioethical Center of the Natural Faculty of Kharkiv National Pedagogical University

Prof. Dr. Alexander Pinsky is a pioneer of animal-free teaching in Kharkiv and beyond. His activities and his positive impact go back to the year 2000, when he established the first library of animal-free teaching material at the Kharkiv National Pedagogical University. With our help, in 2011 he replaced all remaining animal experiments at his department with humane methods. Thanks to his advocacy, two further contracts could be signed with professors in Kyiv and Poltava.

An Ecological and Bioethical Centre is being established at the Kharkiv National Pedagogical University, and Prof. Pinsky made sure that the demonstrations using animals, which were planned initially, will be replaced by animal-free teaching material right from the start. On this basis, we signed a contract with him on September 9th 2021. According to the contract, 44 invertebrates (worms and mussels), 12 bats and 12 birds will now not be used and killed for the class on biological methods. Furthermore, the centre received a laptop and a few CDs and DVDs.

The major goal of the new centre is to educate students in humane, animal-free methods, thus shaping their minds in the direction of animal welfare. Prof. Pinsky believes that to be the way to train REAL specialists.

Furthermore, it was decided to establish the Ukrainian InterNICHE Alternatives Loan System in the new centre. 

Prof. Alexander Pinsky, head of the Ecological and Bioethical Center, Kharkiv

21th December 2021
Dr. Corina Gericke

Further information

Overview of the whole project (in German) >>

Trilingual Website (German, Ukrainian, Russian)



Equipping one department costs roughly €2,000. This life-saving project is possible only due to your support. Our thanks go to all donors. We keep counting on your contribution.


A recurrent question: Why is there no similar project in Germany?

Similar projects wouldn’t work in Germany. What is missing in Germany is not money or knowledge to invest in animal-free teaching methods. It’s the good will to do so. German academia is clinging to methods that use animals as a rite of initiation into the “scientific” world, for which the deadening and dulling of what animal experiments ethically mean is both a prerequisite and the desired outcome. Animal experiments are a central part of German ”scientific“ academia.  Have the students overcome the threshold of cutting open animals for “science”, it’s almost a given that they won’t question this practice during their career.

In the countries of the former USSR, modern, animal-free teaching methods have a much more positive, open-minded resonance. Teachers are less stuck in their ways and more open to new practices. What they lack is knowledge of animal-free methods and money to implement them. Both things we’re happy to help with!

A real profit for all parties – especially for the animals.