Unlawful Animal Use at University of Mississippi Medical Center
University of Mississippi Medical Center is one of the last seven medical schools in the United States and Canada still killing live animals for medical student training. As part of an ongoing effort to change that practice, PCRM recently filed a state legal complaint against the school because it violates Mississippi’s animal cruelty law.
This complaint comes on the heels of a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection prompted by a PCRM complaint. In response, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service cited the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) for violation of the Animal Welfare Act by failing to properly consider nonanimal training methods. When the USDA citation failed change the school’s practices PCRM decided to appeal to local and state prosecutors.
“The animal use at the University of Mississippi is inhumane and violates Mississippi’s anticruelty statute,” says John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., PCRM senior medical and research adviser. “UMMC’s medical students deserve the best possible educational experience to prepare them to treat their future patients. A pig’s anatomy is different from a person’s, and medical students can get a better education using state-of-the-art, human-centered technology.”
Medical training at UMMC involves cutting into live, anesthetized pigs and performing cardiovascular medical procedures. Students place catheters in the arteries and veins of the pigs, block the animals’ arteries, and inject them with drugs. Students then open the pigs’ chest cavities and manipulate the hearts. After the training session, the animals are killed.
UMMC currently operates the Medical Advanced Skill and Simulation Education Center. If the center were fully utilized, the university could immediately replace its use of animals without incurring additional costs.
Human patient models and other high-tech nonanimal methods are used by more than 95 percent of U.S. and Canadian medical schools, including high-ranked Southern institutions such as Emory University, Vanderbilt University, and Duke University.
To ask UMMC to replace animal use with simulators, visit PCRM.org/Research.