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Canadian Medical Schools under Pressure to Drop Animal Labs

Last October, PCRM surveyed Canada's 16 medical schools to see whether live animal laboratories were still part of the curriculum. Results revealed that 11 schools provide cruelty-free education and use modern alternatives to animal experimentation, 3 continue to use animals despite growing public opposition to such practices, and 2 did not complete the survey.

Following the investigation, journalist Nicholas Read reported in the Vancouver Sun that the University of British Columbia (UBC) requires third-year undergraduate pre-medical students to perform tracheotomies, suturing, IV placement, and other invasive procedures on live pigs. Dean John Cairns, M.D., of UBC responded, saying the school is reviewing the use of animals for surgical training and that the faculty has reduced its use of live animals as periodic reviews have identified more effective teaching methods. He noted, for example, "Observation is a critical component in training surgeons. The telesurgery program we developed affords enhanced remote observation opportunities, and to more students, than traditional instruction." Several UBC students, unaware of the upcoming lab, responded with concern about the unnecessary cruelty.

What You Can Do

Please write to Dean Cairns, urging him to discontinue all live animal labs in favor of modern alternative teaching methods.

John A. Cairns, M.D.
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
Undergraduate Education
Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre
3250-910 W. 10th Ave.
Vancouver, B.C.
Canada V5Z 4E3

Canadian Medical Schools That Do Not Use Live Animals

  • Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine
  • McGill University Faculty of Medicine
  • McMaster University School of Medicine
  • University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Oral Health Sciences
  • University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine
  • University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine
  • University of Montreal Faculty of Medicine
  • University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine
  • University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine
  • University of Sherbrooke Faculty of Medicine
  • University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine
  • Canadian Medical Schools That Still Use Live Animals

Memorial University of Newfoundland Faculty of Medicine
Live pig lab

Queen's University School of Medicine
Refused to provide details

Université Laval Faculty of Medicine
Refused to provide details

University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine
Live pig lab

University of Western Ontario Medical School
Live animal labs

This Just In: University Medical Center Drops Dog Lab

PCRM fought an 18-month-long battle with Des Moines University Osteopathic Medical Center over a gruesome lab exercise in which medical students were asked to cut the nipple from a live dog and then sew it back on, supposedly as a way to learn simple surgical techniques. The dogs were then killed. We sent our doctors to the school with extensive information on nonanimal training methods, finally convincing them to drop the animal lab altogether.


Spring/Summer 2002 (Volume XI, Number 2)
Spring/Summer 2002
Volume XI
Number 2

Good Medicine

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