This week the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine filed a complaint with the USDA under the premise that the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s School of Medicine is violating the Animal Welfare Act by using live pigs in training labs for first-year students.
During laboratory sessions, UMC medical students place catheters in the arteries and veins of the pigs, block the animals’ arteries, and inject them with drugs, according to Dr. John J. Pippin of Dallas, senior medical and researcher adviser for the PCRM.
Under the Animal Welfare Act alternatives to the use of animals should be considered in procedures that are going to cause pain or distress. UMC argues that the pigs are treated humanely and euthanized after the procedures. Despite having advanced simulators readily available, they’re choosing to use 34 pigs a year for the next three years.
Alternatives, including TraumMan System, Synman and human cadavers have been approved by the American College of Surgeons.
The study Dying to Learn: Exposing the Supply of Dogs and Cats to Higher Education also found that both medical and veterinary students can learn just as well through alternative teaching methods that can include hands on training at shelters for vet students and simulators for medical students.
Some from the medical community have also spoken out against using live animals for this type of training. Dr. Edward Linkner, a former student at the University of Michigan’s School of Medicine spoke out about this practice in the Detroit Free Press. He refused to participate in the dog lab while he was a student and stated that, “it was clear that using live dogs to practice critical procedures meant for human patients is unnecessary and inhumane–and it does not give participants an accurate understanding of human anatomy.”
Please take a minute to make a phone call, write a letter or send an e-mail to UMMC School of Medicine’s dean Dr. James Keeton asking him to end this cruel and unnecessary practice.
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James E. Keeton, M.D.Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine University of Mississippi Medical Center
2500 North State St.Jackson, MS 39216
E-mail: email@example.com Phone: 601-984-1010
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