Two More Medical Schools End Live Animal Labs
Two more medical schools have eliminated live animal laboratories from their curricula. This spring, PCRM received a letter from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University announcing the school’s decision to stop using live pigs in its third-year surgery clerkship lab.
Brody’s decision, which takes effect this summer, comes after years of effort by PCRM to promote nonanimal alternatives at the school. In recent months, hundreds of PCRM members in North Carolina contacted ECU and asked the school to end its live animal lab program. PCRM physician member Roberta Gray, M.D., attended a simulation conference at ECU in April 2007 and spoke with David Musick, M.D., associate dean for medical education, about replacing the school’s live animal lab with simulators.
North Carolina attorney Matt Norris worked with PCRM senior medical and research adviser John Pippin, M.D., to recruit Duke University law professor William Reppy Jr., director of the Duke Animal Law Project, who sent a letter to ECU. And a complaint filed by PCRM with the federal government over the school’s use of animals may have also played a role in the policy shift.
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Ohio announced that it ended its live animal lab program in June 2008.
Just eight out of 154 U.S. medical schools still have live animal labs. But a few schools are resisting this humane trend. PCRM has been stepping up efforts to encourage Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, which uses pigs in its third- and fourth-year surgery rotation lab multiple times throughout the school year, to end the use of animals in teaching.
On March 21, The Baltimore Sun ran an op-ed by Barbara Wasserman, M.D., a PCRM member and Johns Hopkins graduate, who urged the school to replace the use of animals with nonanimal methods. Then, on March 26, six physicians, including Dr. Wasserman, held an educational leafleting event at Johns Hopkins. Holding large banners calling on the school to end the use of animals in medical training, the doctors also let students know about PCRM’s toll-free hotline (1-888-6-TIP-USDA), which students can call to anonymously report any problems that may occur during the lab.
To learn how you can help end the use of animals in medical teaching at Johns Hopkins and other schools once and for all, please go to PCRM.org/Resch.