Eastern Europe

Complete success: More animals saved than expected

Inspection visits at three Ukrainian universities 

Studying without animal experiments in L’viv

In the city of L'viv in western Ukraine, everything is working to complete satisfaction. That was the result delivered by the inspection visit of Dr. Corina Gericke and our Ukrainian project partner Dimitrij Leporskij (InterNICHE Ukraine) in January 2009.

Since the end of 2008 it has been possible to study at the University of L’viv without any animal experiments whatsoever, thanks to our project. Each year 225 frogs used to be beheaded with scissors here, in order to conduct pharmacological and physiological experiments on their organs. That is over now. Instead there are now a multimedia lecture and a demonstration with a dummy rat made of synthetic materials. In January 2009 we inspected the implementation of the equipment we had provided in August 2008. Since then, lecturer Veronika Chervetsova had prepared a new course textbook, so that for the first time there are detailed instructions in Ukrainian for using the most important freeware computer programs for pharmacology and physiology and the dummy rat »Koken Rat«. The textbook is also suitable for use by other teaching staff as a source of suggestions and ideas. 

The students in L’viv now learn pharmacology with the help of a computer program.

Aelita Kzychkovska (on the left) and lecturer Veronika Chervetsova (right) demonstrate the use of the dummy rat »Koken Rat«.

Practising administering injections on the dummy »Koken Rat«.

Award for University of Ivano-Frankivsk

The second visit to the State Medical University in the western Ukrainian city Ivano-Frankivsk was a complete success. It became apparent that the professors had substituted a great deal more cruel animal experiments with films than agreed on in our contract, so that more than 470 animals per year are no longer tormented to death. They also took place in a nationwide competition for innovative technology in university education – and won the first place.

During the first visit of Dr. Corina Gericke and Dimitrij Leporskij in the summer of 2008, the university proved to be a very difficult case. The pathophysiological animal experiments conducted by the students each year were so uncommon that it was difficult finding adequate non-vivisection teaching methods. We had bought a video projector and a laptop for the faculty, but there was still a lack of multimedia resources for teaching pathophysiology, in other words for depicting diseases and disorders. With the help of InterNICHE we finally found what we needed in the Belarussian universities of Minsk und Smolensk. In addition, the teaching staff produced a number of films themselves. We reject the production of new educational films if this means tormenting or killing just one animal, as we are of the opinion that there are sufficient teaching methods without animal experiments. Many animal experiments could also be eliminated without needing to be replaced at all.

One of the films produced by the university itself demonstrates the effect of electric current on an unanaesthetised rat. This extremely cruel experiment that used to be conducted on 44 rats each year is no longer performed, even if one animal did need to suffer the torment to make the film.

Further experiments that were replaced:
- epilepsy in rats
- hypoxia (lack of oxygen) in rats
- paralysis in rats
- ileus (gastrointestinal blockage) in rats
- myocardial infarction (heart attack) in rabbits
- inflammations in rabbits
- anaphylactic (allergic) shock in guinea pigs
and more

All in all, 470 animals (365 rats, 60 guinea pigs, 45 rabbits) are no longer tormented to death each year, 240 more than contractually agreed on.

Unfortunately, it is still not possible to study without animal experiments at this university, as there are two further courses involving animal experiments, whose conservative instructors are not interested in modernisation.

Archive photo: students practising on a rabbit.

Dean Ljubomyr Zayaz, Corina Gericke and medical students. The medical students are very happy with the multimedia lecture. »That’s dreadful«, says Kristina, second year medical student, about the film with the electrocuted rat, »I’m glad we don’t have to do that.«

Dean Ljubomyr Zayaz (right) showing Dimitrij Leporskij the winner’s certificate for the first place in a nationwide competition for innovative technology in university education, issued by the Ukrainian Ministry of Education.

Such an award is highly motivating, not only for the professors at Ivano-Frankivsk, but also for the teaching staff at other universities.

The success at this university demonstrates how important the continuation of the project is. It is not only possible to directly save animals from suffering and death; the initiative also sows the seeds for a more humane attitude toward animals in general.

Flagship University Sumy

In April 2008 we donated six computers, screens and software, in order to save the lives of more than 900 animals per year, including 820 frogs.

In September 2008 Nick Jukes, InterNICHE coordinator, and Dimitrij Leporskij, seen here with dean Prof. Maria Kambur, visited the University of Sumy for us in order to document the introduction of the progressive teaching methods.

Instead of having to decapitate frogs, the veterinary students now learn physiological processes using modern computer methods.

There have even been innovations arising from individual initiative, such as this cow dummy for practising taking blood samples and administering injections.

Prof. Maria Kambur and Dr. Alexander Kalashnik, in charge of practical training, are very pleased with the project’s development. So are we. 

We would be delighted to receive support for our projects in Eastern Europe >>

Further information

Overview of the whole project (in German) >>

Trilingual Website (German, Ukrainian, Russian)