Public outcry: Don’t euthanize animals at Laurentian University
SUDBURY -- Animal advocates across the province are calling on Laurentian University to immediately stop the euthanizing of lab animals as it closes an animal research facility.
There has been much discussion on social media in the last couple of days after an anonymous post was made on a Facebook page called Umentioned Laurentian.
"It was brought to my attention that during a Zoom conference today that Laurentian University’s lab testing animals (about 200) of them will be euthanized within the next few days. This goes without public announcements or any efforts into rehoming these animals.
I demand that Laurentian University - Université Laurentienne donates these animals to sanctuaries/ give them up for adoption," reads the Facebook post from April 28 at 9:50 p.m.
In a statement, Laurentian University did not confirm whether or not the animals will be or have been already euthanized stating "Laurentian University wishes to thank the community for their questions and concerns on the animal care facility. The facility is small and has primarily housed mice and rats for medical-related research. With the closure of the animal care facility, these research activities will be wound down under the oversight of a veterinarian following animal welfare guidelines in accordance with the Canadian Council on Animal Care and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Rural Affairs. There are no large animals, cats, or dogs housed at the facility."
Based in Toronto, Canada’s only national law animal advocacy organization, Animal Justice, is lending its voice to the cause. Its executive director, Camille Labchuk, said "I think Laurentian's statement that there’re no cats and dogs being used, so the implication being that no one should care, is really wrong. Mice and rats make amazing pets. They are beautiful, wonderful, curious, smart and sensitive animals and I think they deserve just as much of a chance at a life as a cat or a dog does."
Labchuk said as a lawyer she tries to make sure that there are strong laws on the books to protect animals and that those laws are enforced in the industries that use animals and she goes to court to try to make sure animal’s interests are heard. She said the situation at Laurentian is heartbreaking.
"It’s so wrong to kill those tiny lives instead of giving them an option to be adopted into loving homes," Labchuk said. "There are so many amazing animal rescue and adoption and humane societies in Ontario, whose mission is to find homes for animals like those mice and rats who are at the end of the line and need a place to go."
Chanel Lalonde wrote the social media post about the euthanization on Umentioned Laurentian's page and said she received the information from a friend of a friend who attended a Zoom meeting in which it was decided to euthanize the animals. She said the decision was supposed to remain confidential, however, as an animal advocate, she felt the need to help.
"Some have been euthanized and the rest are to be scheduled from my understanding," Lalonde said.
This comes after the school has undergone massive cuts as part of a restructuring process fueled by skyrocketing debt.