Animal Protection Activities in Asian Universities

May 27, 2021Zihao Yu

Introduction

Education in universities plays an important role in society. This blog will explore the courses, groups, and activities at the university level in the top Asian universities. The universities selected in this article are the Top 5 universities in 2021 based on the QS World University Ranking 2021, including:

1. National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore;

2. Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU), Singapore, Singapore;

3. Tsinghua University, Beijing, China;

4. The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China; and

5. Peking University, Beijing, China.


National University of Singapore (NUS)

NUS IACUC

The NUS Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) was set up in 2004 “to achieve the best practice by international standards of animal ethics in all animal care and use program in NUS”. Members of the IACUC include veterinarians and scientists, etc. NUS has been an AAALAC-accredited institution since 2010. IACUC provides training courses for “all staff and students caring for, and using live vertebrates for scientific purposes (research, training, and teaching)” to ensure animals to be used in a humane and ethical manner. IACUC has training courses based on the guidelines of Responsible Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (RCULA) (for the use of common laboratory mammals), and Responsible Care and Use of Fish (RCUF) (for the use of fish) by the National Advisory Committee for Laboratory Animal Research (NACLAR). IACUC also has Education and Training for the Humane Care and Use of Animals policy, and the platform to report Animal care and use concerns.


NUS PEACE

PEACE stands for People Ending Animal Cruelty and Exploitation. NUS PEACE is an interest group established by students in 2006, affiliated with the National University of Singapore to make the world a better place for animals. NUS PEACE has the subcommittees of Cat Cafe, Paw Friends, Therapy Dogs Programme, VEGE (Vision of Equality for a Greener Earth), and projects for Animal Welfare Symposiums, Puppy Mill, Illegal Ivory Trade, Himalayan Mutt, and Therapy Dog.

"Rhesus monkey" by Buddha Dog is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

NTU IACUC

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee in NTU aims “to promote the responsible care and use of animals in the University by ensuring that all Animal Use Protocols adhere to the NACLAR Guidelines (Guidelines on the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes).” NTU announced the policy for the Care and Use of Live Vertebrate Animals in Research and Teaching in 2018, with Training Requirements, the reviewing process, and reporting allegations or concerns related to animal welfare or protocol non-compliance.

NTU ALS

NTU ALS is short for NTU Animal Lover Society which is a student club for the welfare and well-being of animals including wild animals and pets. They are “strong advocators of adoption, animal rescue, and responsible pet ownership” and their slogan is “love animals unconditionally.”


Tsinghua University (THU)

THU LARC

Tsinghua University has the Laboratory Animal Research Center (THU LARC), and within the center, there is the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), which is responsible for the review of animal experiments related to mice, rats, rabbits, and guinea pigs and performed in LARC. In the animal welfare page of IACUC, the “3R” principle of Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement, and the five freedoms. The website also includes the platform for reporting animal welfare issues.


Vegetarian Association of THU

Vegetarian Association of THU is a student association of Tsinghua University for vegetarian culture in order to promote the increase in the proportion of plant-based diets in canteens and to replace animal experiments. The association was set up in 2012.

THU SASAP

SASAP is short for Student Association for Small Animal Protection. This association was set up in 2005 for the protection of small animals including stray cats and dogs.

A stray cat named Xiaoju at Peking University. /Peking University Cat Care Association's WeChat mini-program, Source: news.pku.edu.cn

The University of Hong Kong (HKU)

Courses

“Animal Law and Rights: was taught by Associate Professor Amanda Whitfort at HKU law faculty, as “the first internationally focused Animal Law course in Asia”. Besides, there is a course “Some We Love, Some We Eat: Human-Animal Relationships in the Global Marketplace” by Dr. Carmen K.M. Tong.

Peking University (PKU)

Course

The course “Conservation Biology” is taught by Professor Lü Zhi at PKU.

PKU LAC

PKU LAC is the Laboratory Animal Center reviewed by the PKU IACUC. PKU LAC got the AAALAC certification in 2008 as the first University Laboratory Animal Institution in China.

PKU Lost Angels

PKU “Lost Angels”, or the Caring for Stray Cats Association of Peking University, is a student association for the help of homeless cats on campus. Read more here.

PKU GreenLife

PKU GreenLife Association is a student association founded in 1996 for nature conservation, biodiversity, and natural bird watching.

Conclusion

From the review of the activities related to animal protection at the top-5 universities in Asia, we can find the activities at the school level are more focusing on laboratory animal welfare, and other animal protection activities are conducted majorly by the student associations. Besides, the protection of laboratory animals is not merely based on caring for laboratory animals, but to meet the requirements for publication in international academic journals. Few courses for animal welfare, animal right, animal ethics, animal philosophy are offered in these universities. The neglect of animal welfare at the university level is not conducive to the improvement of public awareness of the concept of animal welfare or animal rights.

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