Bostonians Urge Mass General to Stop Killing Sheep
Cars slowed down and pedestrians stopped and stared. On Oct. 15, 50 Bostonians lined the street outside Massachusetts General Hospital to oppose the facility’s use of live sheep for trauma training.
The demonstrators—including PCRM doctors and several Mass General employees still wearing scrubs—held banners and distributed leaflets urging the hospital to adopt nonanimal methods of Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) training. The hospital is one of the last institutions in America still using live animals to teach ATLS surgical skills.
At Mass General, ATLS courses typically involve cutting open live, anesthetized sheep, inserting tubes and needles into the animals’ chest cavities, and cutting into their throats. After the course, the animals are killed.
During the demonstration, PCRM delivered a petition with more than 9,000 signatures encouraging Mass General to replace these lethal procedures with modern training methods based on human anatomy.
The American College of Surgeons has approved the TraumaMan System and other state-of-the-art simulators for ATLS training, and Mass General already owns several of these units. The hospital uses TraumaMan to teach ATLS surgical skills to medical students—but it uses live sheep to teach the same procedures to practicing physicians.
Before 2001, most ATLS courses used live animals. Now 95 percent of U.S. institutions that provide advanced trauma training exclusively use human-patient simulators. But Mass General and a handful of other facilities continue using and killing animals.
Take action to end the use of animals in trauma training programs: HumaneTraumaTraining.org