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Victory for Pigs at University of Wisconsin!

pigs used in medical school labsPCRM has worked for years to replace animal use with human-based alternatives in medical school labs and trauma training courses. With your help, we recently experienced another victory when the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health stopped using live pigs. And we’ve just added six more institutions to our list of trauma training programs using nonanimal methods.

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. Now, UW joins the overwhelming majority of medical schools that no longer use live animals to teach future physicians.

Earlier this year, PCRM won another hard-fought Wisconsin victory when the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) eliminated its pig lab. Unfortunately, the college still uses live frogs, rats, and rabbits. But you can help end animal use at MCW by asking dean and executive vice president Jonathan Ravdin, M.D., to join the 95 percent of U.S. medical schools that have already ended their live animal laboratories.

PCRM has been equally effective at ending animal use in Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) programs. Largely due to PCRM’s work to educate ATLS programs on superior nonanimal alternatives, 95 percent of U.S. and Canadian facilities that provide training have ended their use of animals in favor of lifelike human patient simulators. Simulators such as the TraumaMan System are approved by the American College of Surgeons, the body that oversees the courses. But a handful of programs, like Tulane University School of Medicine, continue to use live animals in trauma training courses.

At Tulane University, 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.

In March, Louisiana physician and PCRM member Leslie Brown, M.D., filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging that the institution is in violation of the Animal Welfare Act for using live pigs in a trauma training course.

To help save animals at Tulane and MCW, visit


PCRM Online, August 2010

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