AMSA Passes Resolution Encouraging Replacement of Live Animal Labs
This spring, the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) took a major step toward modernizing medical education. AMSA passed a resolution encouraging the replacement of live animal laboratories with nonanimal alternatives in undergraduate medical education. The AMSA resolution also condemned the practice of pound seizure and obtaining animals from Class B dealers.
AMSA amended its official position regarding alternatives to animal laboratories from a statement that the organization “urges that alternative educational materials, such as films, videotapes and computer simulations be provided for students who do not choose to attend these classes and labs (1986),” to “AMSA strongly encourages the replacement of animal laboratories with non-animal alternatives in undergraduate medical education.”
AMSA also completely reversed its stance on obtaining animals from local pounds for use in vivisection in medical education. The resolution states that AMSA condemns the use of household pets from pounds, shelters, or Class B random source dealers. This replaces a position taken by AMSA in 1986, in which the group endorsed pound seizure.
AMSA’s resolution is part of a growing trend promoting the use of alternatives to live animal labs. More than 85 percent of U.S. medical schools have eliminated the use of live animals to teach basic concepts in human physiology, pharmacology, or surgery. The American College of Surgeons no longer uses live animals in any of its training exercises. 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.