Help Stop Tulane's Deadly Pig Lab
Today, physicians are bringing attention to Tulane University School of Medicine’s cruel and ineffective use of live pigs in a trauma training course. At a peaceful demonstration, they are presenting a petition signed by nearly 15,000 concerned citizens that asks Tulane to replace the use of animals in the course with human-based alternatives. The next course begins this Saturday, June 5.
“Cutting into living animals is a substandard way to teach emergency procedures that will be used on humans,” says John J. Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., PCRM senior medical and research adviser. “Tulane already owns and uses simulators, including TraumaMan, to teach procedures also taught with live pigs. The school should transition to state-of-the-art, nonanimal teaching methods for these trauma courses.”
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.
But Tulane University senior vice president and dean Benjamin Sachs, M.B., has ignored pleas to change this method, although effective nonanimal alternatives for use in Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) courses have been approved by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), the body that oversees these courses. Tulane operates a state-of-the-art medical simulation center and owns several of the ACS-approved simulators. The center could be used to replace the school’s use of animals without incurring significant additional cost to the university.
At Tulane, ATLS courses typically involve 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.
Nonanimal education methods are used by 95 percent of U.S. and Canadian facilities providing ATLS training, including the University of South Alabama, the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, and Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport.
To ask Dr. Sachs to end the use of animals in Tulane’s ATLS program and to learn how you can help end the use of animals in other trauma training programs, visit PCRM.org/Research.
John J. Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C.
PCRM Online, June 2010