Victory for Pigs in Wisconsin and Tennessee
PCRM has worked for years to replace animal use with human-based alternatives in medical schools. With help from members, PCRM recently achieved two more victories when the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis both stopped using live pigs.
Previously, during the first-year physiology course lab at the University of Wisconsin (UW), medical students practiced on live pigs before the animals were bled out and killed. UW now joins the overwhelming majority of medical schools that no longer use live animals to teach future physicians.
PCRM has been equally effective at ending animal use in Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) programs, and recently learned that the University of Tennessee has stopped using live pigs in this course. PCRM helped end the use of live pigs in a medical student surgery lab at the University of Tennessee in 2008. The pigs were initially replaced with student rotations in an area hospital before the school purchased two TraumaMan System simulators. In June, after PCRM filed a federal complaint over the school’s use of animals in its ATLS program, the university confirmed that it has stopped using live pigs and is using those same simulators in its trauma training course.
PCRM has just added six more institutions to the list of trauma training programs using nonanimal methods. But a handful of programs, including Tulane University School of Medicine, continue to use live animals in trauma training courses.
At Tulane, the ATLS course still involves cutting open live, anesthetized pigs and practicing procedures such as inserting a tube and needle into the animals’ chest cavities and cutting into their throats. After the training session, the animals are killed.