Tréz T. Networking and Alternatives across Brazil. Paper presented at: Alternatives in the Mainstream: Innovations in Life Science Education and Training. 2nd InterNICHE Conference; 2005 May 12-15; Oslo, Norway


InternicheBrasil was set up 5 years ago. During this period, the number of professors contacting the network, borrowing alternative methods through our national Alternatives Loan System, or asking for information regarding implementation, has grown significantly. The number of invitations for speeches about humane education has also grown, and it seems that in Brazil we are passing through a transition period, with the debate being brought more into the institutional and academic environment. However, this emergence cannot be seen through this apparently optimistic perspective when we consider the high number of animals still used at faculties across the country. Brazil has laws and regulations on animal use that still need to be clarified to be effective, although they have been used already with some success against faculties, at least to bring the debate out into the open. In 1997 I helped in the rescue of a dog from a physiology lab, bringing positive results including publicity of the action and the issue at the national level. In April 2005, 6 dogs that were supposed to be killed for training in veterinary surgery techniques at an important university in Brazil had their lives saved due to organised mobilisation from students. This event gave an opportunity for local newspapers to publicise the issue, creating a good environment for debate. This is just one example of many that shows some maturity in synchronised civil actions, and reflects a new attitude based on the spirit of challenge and action. InterNICHE’s video and book (the latter recently translated into Portuguese but not yet published) have played important roles in this process. Our website is actually the main vehicle we found to effectively spread the word of humane education, and it has complete and detailed information on alternative methods for education. We now need to think in a more national orientation for the content, and on other changes. Focusing on this necessity, the speaker is now organising a book with articles from renowned professors from different Brazilian faculties in fields such as psychology, physiology, surgery, biology, anatomy and philosophy. One student is also contributing by sharing her experience of conscientious objection. The articles are ready, and we are now searching for editors to launch it this year.