Monday, January 28, 2008

The Medical College of Wisconsin Continues To Use Live Pigs in Teaching: Group Calls To End of Unnecessary and Cruel Practice

According to the article below, here are some key points:

Thirty-six pigs are to be opened, examined and killed at the Medical College at the end of February.

According to the physicians committee, which is based in Washington, D.C., the American College of Surgeons and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education support elimination of live animal laboratories and stress the use of alternatives, including human simulators.

More than 100 other medical schools, including Harvard, Yale and Cornell, have discontinued use of live laboratory animals.

Article:

Medical College urged to stop using live pigs in labs

http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/
article?AID=/20080128/GPG0101/80128041/1206/GPGnews

By SUSANNE RUST

srust@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Jan. 27, 2008

Not satisfied with the decision by the Medical College of Wisconsin to stop using dogs as live teaching tools, an animal rights group is now calling on the school to stop using pigs.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is calling on the Medical College, as well as eight other U.S. medical schools, to get live animals out of the teaching curriculum.

Thirty-six pigs are to be opened, examined and killed at the Medical College at the end of February.

The group, which says the use of live animals is unnecessary and cruel, has erected a billboard on Highway 45 that calls on the school to stop.

More than 100 other medical schools, including Harvard, Yale and Cornell, have discontinued use of live laboratory animals.

This is the first year the Medical College has used pigs instead of dogs in its introductory physiology laboratory - a course designed for first-year medical students.

Although the physiology course began in January, the animal laboratory isn't scheduled until the end of February.

Richard Katschke, the associate vice president of public affairs at the Medical College, said the pigs come from local farmers and were not bred as laboratory animals.

He also said the American Physiological Society, the governing body for physiology education nationwide, endorses the use of animals in medical education.

"The definition of 'physiology' is 'the study of living systems,' " Allen Cowley, professor and chairman of physiology, said in an internal Medical College memo. "The Medical College's cardiovascular laboratory provides students with an exceptional learning experience."

He said it was the "only opportunity that students will have in their medical education to experience the cardiovascular function of a large animal with similar responses as humans before they begin clinical work with patients."

Katschke said the college has received 600 to 700 letters of protest about the pigs. About 50 of those letters came from residents of Wisconsin.

Other colleges still using live animals include the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, the University of Minnesota Medical School and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Human simulators

According to the physicians committee, which is based in Washington, D.C., the American College of Surgeons and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education support elimination of live animal laboratories and stress the use of alternatives, including human simulators.

In 2005, the Medical College unveiled a $2.5 million high-tech clinical training and teaching center, which includes three human simulators - a man, woman and child.

Katschke said the simulators are also used in the course, and students uncomfortable with the live-animal laboratory are not required to participate.

As for the letter to the USDA, Katschke said he wasn't worried.

He said the USDA was at the school this month on a surprise inspection and the agency "gave us a clean bill of health."

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