Medical School Update
A record number of University of Colorado School of Medicine (CU) first-year students opted out of the dog laboratory this year, following years of PCRM's efforts to make the lab a thing of the past. In 1995, a PCRM-sponsored lawsuit on behalf of medical student Safia Rubaii won students the right to refuse to kill animals while they train to become physicians.
Last spring, PCRM's Ray Greek, M.D., visited the campus to let students and faculty know about the state-of-the-art, nonanimal methods used to teach physiology and pharmacology at the majority of U.S. medical schools. In addition, PCRM ran advertisements in the school newspaper and radio spots hosted by Politically Incorrect's Bill Maher, who urged students not to kill their first patient. When lab day arrived, 32 students refused to participate.
The vice president and CEO of Denver's ABC affiliate station, Channel 7, repeatedly broadcasted the following editorial:
"Every year CU medical students operate on live dogs to see how their organs react to drugs—most often heart and kidney drugs. The dogs are anesthetized, operated on, and then killed. These dog labs, costing more than $40,000 each, are supported with your tax dollars. The CU School of Medicine says this lab experience is unique and valuable. But we believe, along with many students and other medical schools, that this practice is barbaric. Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Stanford medical schools, along with 70 others, have abolished these labs and replaced them with computer simulations or human surgery observations. Channel 7 calls on Richard Krugman, dean of CU's medical school, to close the dog labs. Stop this unethical practice and bring CU into the 21st Century."
The majority of Duke University School of Medicine's first-year class and many faculty members attended a luncheon and lecture on alternatives to live animal laboratories, presented by PCRM's medical consultant Murry Cohen, M.D. Students were excited to hear about the human surgery observation practicum in use at Harvard Medical School, which is documented in PCRM's video Advances in Medical Education—with Henry Heimlich, M.D. Many said they hoped this to be the last year for the live pig labs at Duke University. An advertisement ran in the alumni weekend edition of the school paper, educating all graduates about the archaic labs.
What You Can Do
Contact PCRM or go to PCRM.org for more information about innovative and humane alternatives. We are always looking for individuals to distribute information on campus and in the community, write letters to universities and local press, and educate others about this pressing issue.