PCRM Calls on Military to End Animal Use in Medical Education
The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., is the country’s only military medical school—and it’s also one of the last schools in the nation still using and killing live animals in medical student education.
This summer, PCRM filed a petition for enforcement with the Department of Defense asking for an end to animal use at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). A Department of Defense directive renewed in 2005 mandates that nonanimal alternatives be used if they exist, and there are nonanimal teaching methods that achieve the educational goals for all of the labs involving animals offered at USUHS.
In fact, many of these nonanimal methods are currently in use at the National Capital Area Medical Simulation Center, a state-of-the-art simulation center operated by USUHS.
Live animal use at USUHS includes the following:
- A live pig lab is offered to third-year medical students as part of a surgery rotation. At the end of this lab, the pigs are killed.
- A physiology lab using live pigs is offered to first-year medical students. At the end of this lab, the pigs are killed.
- An intubation lab using live ferrets is offered to third-year medical students. Ferrets can suffer fatal injuries during these labs.
- A parasitology lab using live gerbils is offered to students as a means of studying the disease filariasis. For this lab, the gerbils are killed.
- A medical zoology lab using live snakes is offered.
Only eight out of 154 allopathic and osteopathic medical schools in the United States still use live animals in their curricula. You can help end the use of animals in medical education. Learn how at PCRM.org.