Victory! Two More Medical Schools End Live Animal Labs
The Medical College of Wisconsin finally ended its use of animals in medical education, after a longstanding effort by PCRM and its members and supporters.
PCRM first sent letters to MCW’s faculty and leadership, explaining the benefits of replacing the use of dogs in its physiology course with nonanimal methods. In 2007, after PCRM filed complaints with the federal government and led large demonstrations outside the medical school, MCW replaced dogs with pigs. After continued pressure, MCW ended its use of live pigs and piloted a human- and computer-based program, but still used rabbits, frogs, and rats. PCRM continued to urge MCW to end all animal use. Finally, on June 5, 2012, MCW announced that next year’s medical student curriculum will include no animal labs at all.
The following day, the University of Virginia School of Medicine announced the end of all animal use in its medical school curriculum. The last to go was a laboratory exercise using 120 rats per year to teach microsurgery to medical students.
PCRM continues to urge the five remaining U.S. medical schools with animal laboratories to replace them with modern, cost-effective, and humane alternatives.
Take Action: Ask Johns Hopkins to Stop Using Animals for Training
PCRM is pushing Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to stop using live animals in its classes. Twenty years ago, live animals were commonly used in physiology, pharmacology, and surgery classes at medical schools. A standard laboratory involved anesthetizing a dog, then injecting pharmaceuticals or practicing surgical techniques. After the class, the animal was killed.
Most medical schools have abandoned the practice, but a few switched to pigs or other animals, hoping that students and the public would no longer object. Students in Johns Hopkins’ surgery clerkship practice procedures by cutting into live pigs. Many physicians have objected, pointing out that Johns Hopkins already has a high-tech simulation center and could easily replace the use of pigs with simulators.
Please send an e-mail to Dean Edward D. Miller, M.D., at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and politely urge him to stop using live animals as teaching tools. Go to PCRM.org/JohnsHopkins.