Monday, March 05, 2007

Medical Doctor Speaks Out: Dissection and Live Animal Labs Are No Longer Required or Even Hailed As Superior Teaching Tools

This is an excellent article that truly shows that medical schools that require live animal labs like dissection or vivisection are using outdated, inferior and wasted resources that are not producing good results. In essence, dissection and vivisection are not necessary parts of a good medial schools curriculum.


Animals are not meant for medical research

Dear Editor, As medical advisor for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, I'd like to clarify some misleading statements made about our efforts to promote humane alternatives to animal dissection in a recent letter ("Much ado about nothing by animal rights activists," Feb. 23).

Contrary to Dr. Paul Cosenza's letter, PCRM is a respected nonprofit health and research advocacy organization and is led by physicians, dietitians and scientists who publish their work in peer-reviewed academic journals, present their findings before scientific conferences and serve as consultants on government panels.

For more than 20 years, we have worked to educate the public about the need to move away from using animals in medical research and education.

Most physicians, like me, complete their medical education without ever cutting into an animal. In fact, more than 85 percent of U.S. medical schools have eliminated live animal labs in favor of more effective and humane teaching methods, such as human patient simulators, virtual computer programs and physician mentoring and observation.

The America College of Surgeons no longer uses live animals in its clinical training programs and has endorsed the use of simulation technologies to replace live animal use in surgery training programs.

I almost did not pursue medicine because I thought I might have to dissect and harm animals in the process. I am now a double-board certified neurologist and public health specialist.

Unfortunately, I do know many people who considered pursuing careers in biology and medicine, but chose not to because they believed they might be required to dissect animals. Today, dissection and live animal labs are no longer required or even hailed as superior teaching tools. To imply that dissecting animals is a necessary part of any education is simply wrong.

Aysha Akhtar, M.D., M.P.H.

Senior Medical and Research Advisor

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Washington, D.C.

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