A scalpel slices through a live pig’s throat. The chest is cracked open. An instructor shocks and manipulates the heart. Ultimately, the animal is killed. This is what animals go through in classes for medical students at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Silver Spring, Md.
A training video PCRM obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveals this unlawful use of live pigs to teach first-year medical students at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md., also uses live animals in its medical student curriculum.
Last month, Maryland physicians, including two Johns Hopkins graduates, joined PCRM in filing criminal complaints with two state’s attorney’s offices to halt both schools’ animal laboratories, which violate the Maryland animal cruelty law.
Fifty-three pigs are used and killed in USUHS’ training each year. In Johns Hopkins’ third-year surgery rotation, students make incisions and insert endoscopes (long tubes with cameras) into the pig. The procedures cause severe injuries, and the animals are killed at the end of each session.
“Training on live animals is cruel to the animals and is an inferior educational experience for the students,” says John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., PCRM senior medical and research adviser. “A pig’s anatomy is different from a human’s, and medical students can get a better education using state-of-the-art, human-centered technology.”
Both USUHS and Johns Hopkins have numerous simulators at their on-campus simulation centers. If these simulation centers were fully utilized, the universities could immediately replace the use of animals.
Nonanimal training methods are used by more than 95 percent of U.S. medical schools and all Canadian medical schools.
To take action and watch the video of USUHS’ training (Warning: Video contains graphic images), visit PCRM.org/MDAnimalLabs.