Brody School of Medicine Ends Its Live Animal Labs
Live animal labs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. On March 31, PCRM received a letter from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University (ECU) stating that the use of live animals will be eliminated from the medical school’s curriculum effective July 1, 2008. The school had been using pigs in its third-year surgery clerkship lab six times throughout each school year. The Daily Reflector, a North Carolina newspaper, recently covered the change at ECU.
In early 2007, PCRM sent a letter to ECU’s Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC), urging the school to end its use of live animals for medical student education. PCRM also filed a USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) complaint regarding ECU. About five months later, PCRM received an APHIS inspection report citing the school for noncompliance with the Animal Welfare Act because there was “no justification present as to why alternatives were not used” at the school.
PCRM was fortunate to have help from many concerned and caring physicians, attorneys, and members. PCRM physician member Roberta Gray, M.D., attended a simulation conference at ECU in April 2007 and spoke with David Musick, M.D., the associate dean for medical education, about replacing the school’s live animal lab with simulators. In January 2008, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, at PCRM’s request, sent an e-mail to its North Carolina attorney members, informing them that PCRM was looking for North Carolina lawyers who might be able to help. Attorney Matt Norris responded and worked with PCRM senior medical and research adviser John Pippin, M.D., to recruit Duke University law professor William Reppy Jr., the director of the Duke Animal Law Project, who sent a letter to ECU.
When PCRM asked its North Carolina members to take action, they sent hundreds of e-mails and letters to the school, politely asking interim Dean Phyllis Horns, R.N., D.S.N., F.A.A.N., and Dr. Musick to end the live animal lab program.
Every medical school in North Carolina is now animal lab free. And since Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Ohio announced that it will end its live animal lab program in June 2008, only eight out of 154 U.S. medical schools will have live animal labs as of this summer.
PCRM is actively working on ending the live animal labs at the last eight schools. Learn how you can take action now to help end live animal labs once and for all.