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Issue 16
MRC Baboons
Vet Council Continues to obfuscate
Local researchers question animal models
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Proposed Code a 'Vivisector's Charter'
Who'll move the cheese ?
Enchantrix - now country-wide distribution
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THE VETERINARY COUNCIL CONTINUES TO SIDE-STEP, EVADE, CONTRADICT


      In Snout 15 we described in detail how, for 19 years, we had been urging the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC) to take disciplinary steps against Prof. André Immelman, who committed perjury when he lied to the Council about his role in the Roodeplaat Laboratory's cruel warfare experiments on animals. We also urged them to update the Veterinarians' Code of Practice which appeared to safeguard the interests of veterinarians rather than that of animals. We felt that veterinarians should be there primarily for the interests of animals and it would therefore be fitting for them to take an oath similar to the Hippocratic Oath that medical students were compelled to take.

      We recently had a rather perplexed communication from one of our SAAV members, who had faxed the Veterinary Council, requesting that Immelman be removed from the register of Veterinary surgeons and also requesting that the S.A. Veterinary code of ethics be updated to include an Oath similar to the Hippocratic Oath for medical students.
      The obfuscatory response was no different from those of the past when there was a definite connection, through some of their Board members, to the S.A. Defence Force's secret warfare experiments on animals. And so their reply of 7th October 2004 made no mention of the fact that Immelman had actually committed perjury. In fact, it ignored the reference to Immelman altogether, merely mentioning the "good news" that, "although the taking of an Oath under auspices of the Veterinary Council was extensively debated, the Council resolved in January 2000 not to proceed with the idea, but left it to the training institutions to implement it for newly qualified veterinarians" and that "The Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria (Onderstepoort), has since instituted the taking of the Oath at Council's request."
      Our perplexed SAAV member had then decided this response needed some clarification, especially regarding the "training institutions" to which they had referred. Their reply now made it clear that there was only one such institution - Onderstepoort. In response to her request for the wording of the Oath which "had been instituted at the SAVC's request" she was advised to contact Prof. N. Kriek at Onderstepoort (the Dean automatically being an ex officio member of the Board).
      She was referred to the SAVC's website for any information regarding the Code of Practice which, it turned out, still appeared to safeguard the interests of veterinarians, rather than that of animals. But let's not despair, their Dr. Ardingtonhas been working very hard on updating sections of the Code, for the past eight years.
      More worrying, is that the SAVC seems to be stuck in a serious time warp, as their eventual response regarding Immelman was exactly the same as 17 years ago: his warfare experiments on animals did not per se constitute a contravention of the Act or Rules and conformed with normal practice. The question of Immelman's perjurous statements remained ignored, possibly being considered normal practice for veterinary surgeons.
      But the real tragedy is that apparently, in the whole of South Africa, there is not one caring veterinarian inclined to challenge this state of affairs.

(See: So who'll move the cheese?)

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