Thursday, July 10, 2008

PCRM Asks for Your Help Ending Live Animal Labs at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), the Only Military Medical School

As you’ll read below, the military (not surprisingly) uses live animals in labs in the medical school. As you’ll also read at http://www.pcrm.org/resch/meded/index.html many of the top medical schools in the country have long abandoned live animal labs. Please read on and see how you can easily make voice against the practice of live animal labs.

Ask the Military to End Live Animal Use in Medical Student Courses

We need your help to end the use of live animals for medical student training at U.S. military facilities. Live animals are used and killed in medical student courses at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Md., and Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. PCRM filed a petition for enforcement with the Department of Defense (DOD) on July 2, 2008, asking for an end to this animal use. The Washington Post recently covered PCRM’s campaign.

USUHS is the country’s only military medical school. The teaching methods it uses impact medical student training at military facilities across the country. There are at least five live animal labs at USUHS. According to the school’s Web site and other documents obtained by PCRM, they include:

* A live pig lab offered to third-year medical students as part of a surgery rotation (this lab also takes place at Wilford Hall). At the end of this lab, the pigs are killed.

* A physiology lab using live pigs, offered to first-year medical students. At the end of this lab, the pigs are killed.

* An intubation lab using live ferrets offered to third-year medical students (also offered at Wilford Hall). Ferrets can suffer fatal injuries during these labs.

* A parasitology lab using live gerbils, offered to students as a means of studying the disease filariasis. For this lab, the gerbils are killed.

* A medical zoology lab using live snakes.

Please call, e-mail, fax, or write a letter to USUHS president Charles L. Rice, M.D., and the dean of the medical school Larry W. Laughlin, M.D., Ph.D., and politely ask them to end the school’s live animal lab program. Being polite is the most effective way to help these animals. Send an automatic e-mail>

Charles L. Rice, M.D.

President

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

4301 Jones Bridge Rd.

Bethesda, MD 20814-4799

Phone: 301-295-3013

Fax: 301-295-1960

president@usuhs.mil

Larry W. Laughlin, M.D., Ph.D.

Dean

F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

4301 Jones Bridge Rd.

Bethesda, MD 20814-4799

Phone: 301-295-3017

Fax: 301-295-3542

llaughlin@usuhs.mil

A DOD directive renewed in 2005 mandates that nonanimal alternatives be used if they exist. There are nonanimal teaching methods that achieve the educational goals for all five animal labs mentioned above. Many of these alternatives are currently in use at the National Capital Area Medical Simulation Center, a state-of-the-art simulation center operated by USUHS.

More than 90 percent of U.S. medical schools have eliminated live animal labs from their curricula altogether. Innovations in medical simulation technology, availability of alternatives, increased awareness of ethical concerns, and a growing acknowledgement that medical training must be human-focused have all facilitated this shift. Only eight out of 154 allopathic and osteopathic medical schools in the United States still use live animals in their curricula.

Learn more about live animal labs and what you can do to help end them. If you have any questions, please contact me at rmerkley@pcrm.org or 202-686-2210, ext. 336. Thanks so much for your help!

Best regards,

sig_ryan_merkley

Ryan Merkley

Research Program Coordinator

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