New association aims at stopping vivisection in Turkey
Ece Çelik – ISTANBUL
Approximately 266,000 animals are being exposed to vivisection in 130 labs across Turkey, according to an animal rights association newly founded to stop the procedures of cutting into or otherwise injuring living animals for the purpose of scientific research.
These experiments include observing how boiling oil affects respiratory tract and how the bones of an animal are broken, said veterinary physician Burak Özgüner, coordinator of the Animal Rights Watch Committee (HAKİM) in Turkey.
“Scientific papers and data show that vivisection does not provide much advantage and computerized experiments are much more effective than it is,” he told daily Hürriyet.
“Most of these vivisections are carried out on behalf of academics’ own research. Thus, they do vivisections, which are not necessary for the science world, for their own careers,” he added.
Özgüner joined forces with other volunteers including cartoonist Aslı Alpar, journalist and former MP Melda Onur and internal medicine specialist Oğuz Kınıkoğlu to establish the Anti-Vivisection Association of Turkey.
According to the animal protection law enacted in 2004, every educational and commercial institution enabling vivisection should set up an ethics committee including at least one member from an animal rights organization.
However, many institutions invite members from irrelevant nongovernmental organizations instead, said Özgüner.
“We have even witnessed a member of a jewelers association joining an ethics committee,” he recalled.
The Anti-Vivisection Association will also make efforts for the right to conscientious objection of medical and veterinary students.
“I witnessed terrible things at the university. They execute unnecessary vivisections in the name of training,” said Özgüner, who made a presentation on this topic to a parliamentary commission to investigate animal rights.
The association also suggests a program to provide new homes for animals which have gone through vivisection.
“We want to bring the program used in the EU countries to Turkey. Since there is no plan for the future lives of animals subject to vivisection, they are being killed. We would like to take them to a non-violent setting at least in the aftermath of vivisection,” he said.