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Letter: End the use of pigs in medical training now

To the Editor:

The ongoing use of pigs for operation training in the University's emergency medicine residency program reflects poorly on the University and provides inferior training to residents who deserve the best. It's time Brown joined the right side of history and ended this cruel, outdated practice.

Pigs’ anatomy and physiology are so different from humans — their blood coagulates differently, for example — that maiming pigs is inapplicable to human emergency medicine. This is in part why most emergency medicine residency programs surveyed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine have abandoned the use of animals for training.

The best available emergency medical training comes from human simulators, which replicate a breathing, bleeding human — often with realistic skin, tissue, ribs and internal organs. These systems are reusable, more portable and less costly. Importantly, no living being suffers or dies when human simulators are used.

Studies from the University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, U.S. Air Force and the Canadian Forces Health Services have all shown simulators to be effective stand-ins over animals in medical training.

The Warren Alpert Medical School must catch up with the times — and its peer schools — by replacing its cruel training on live pigs with superior, non-animal methods.

Shalin Gala

Vice President of International Laboratory Methods, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals



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