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Stepping Up Efforts to End Live Animal Labs at Johns Hopkins

More than 90 percent of U.S. medical schools have stopped using live animals to teach medical students the basics of physiology, pharmacology, and surgery. So why is Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine—a top-ranked U.S. medical school—still offering live animal labs?

pig labPCRM member physicians have been stepping up efforts to encourage the school to implement humane alternatives. On March 21, The Baltimore Sun ran an op-ed by Barbara Wasserman, M.D., a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who urged the school to end its live animal lab. The school uses pigs in its third- and fourth-year surgery rotation lab multiple times throughout the school year. The most recent surgery rotation began on March 24.

On March 26, six physicians, including Dr. Wasserman and PCRM senior medical and research adviser John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., held an educational leafleting event at Johns Hopkins. The event was covered by The Baltimore Sun. The doctors held two large banners calling on the school to end its lab and handed out leaflets to students. 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 live animal lab. Reports from other medical schools have described how some animals have actually regained consciousness during painful procedures due to insufficient anesthesia.

That same day, PCRM ran an ad in The Baltimore City Paper asking students to “Blow the Whistle on Animal Abuse at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine” by calling the hotline to report any abuses.

Johns Hopkins is one of the last 10 U.S. medical schools still using live animals as part of the curriculum. Only Johns Hopkins and four other schools use live animals for surgery training. The American College of Surgeons stopped using live animals in any of its own surgery educational and training programs in 2006. PCRM and its members will continue to urge Johns Hopkins to end its live animal lab program.

Take action now to help end the labs!


PCRM Online, April 2008

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