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Victory! Canadian Medical Schools End Live Animal Labs

Pigs saved from trauma training courseThe Memorial University of Newfoundland ended live animal use in a medical student laboratory. Every Canadian medical school now uses nonanimal education methods.

Last month, the Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) announced an end to its pig lab in an e-mail to PCRM. The animal lab became the subject of controversy after the university learned of PCRM’s plans to file a legal complaint with the Canadian Council on Animal Care arguing that the school’s use of live pigs violated federal guidelines.

All medical schools in Canada now teach students with modern nonanimal educational methods, including human-patient simulators, such as those now in use at MUN. MUN’s move toward nonanimal methods comes hard on the heels of similar announcements from medical institutions across North America.

"Canada has completely ended live animal labs, which should send a clear signal to the handful of U.S. medical schools still clinging to these inhumane and educationally inferior procedures,” says PCRM cardiologist John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C. “It’s time for the remaining seven U.S. schools to end animal use and embrace the future of medical education.”

The decision to move from live animal use toward nonanimal methods in medical training is also sweeping Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) classes.

Last month, PCRM persuaded the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to stop using and killing live pigs in its trauma training classes. The victory follows a complaint PCRM filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture stating that the animal use was a violation of the Animal Welfare Act.

PCRM’s objection to the use of live pigs in the class received coverage on local TV and in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The newspaper also printed an editorial that says the university’s use of pigs is “a practice that the hospital system nevertheless says it is phasing out.”

While UPMC has agreed to phase out its animal use, PCRM is urging the institution to make the change immediately, before more pigs are unnecessarily killed. UPMC’s next ATLS course takes place Nov. 18 and 19. Please ask the medical center to replace animal use before that course.

In ATLS courses, such as UPMC’s, trainees cut into live, anesthetized pigs and practice 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.

To help save animals at the medical schools and ATLS programs that continue to use and kill animals, visit PCRM.org/Research.



 

PCRM Online, November 2010

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Phone: 202-686-2210     Email: pcrm@pcrm.org