Ads Condemn Canadian University’s Use of AnimalsPhysicians Committee Targets Pediatrics Training Program’s Live Animal Lab
The Physicians Committee placed eye-catching ads throughout the campus of Laval University in Quebec, Canada, urging the school to stop using and killing piglets in its pediatrics training program. Citing the inherent flaws of using animals to teach human medicine, the Physicians Committee is calling for a shift to effective and ethical training methods such as medical simulators and other human-relevant techniques.
Laval University’s program is the only Canadian pediatrics program—and one of only three in all of North America—still using animals. During the yearly training, Laval medical students cut open piglets’ chests, insert tubes into their chest cavities, cut open their veins, and insert a needle into the sac surrounding the animals’ hearts. The piglets are then killed.
Students, faculty, and administrators walking or driving through the campus encountered three ads in bus shelters depicting a piglet and demanding a “switch to simulation.” The ads read, “Une Formation Inadéquate = des Soins Inadéquats” (“Inadequate Education = Inadequate Care”). Located on three main, high-traffic streets, the ads were posted for one month beginning on March 10.
These ads are part of the Physicians Committee’s ongoing campaign to end the use of animals in medical education at United States and Canadian schools and hospitals. In addition to placing the ads, the Physicians Committee has filed an official cruelty complaint with the Quebec prosecutor and sent letters to the residency program director, the pediatrics department chair, and the university rector (equivalent to the president of the university). More than 500 Quebec residents also signed a petition to the university.
Pediatricians deserve superior training to handle any emergency situation threatening an infant’s life—and Quebec residents deserve high-quality care. Nonanimal methods are not only readily available, but are far more effective in preparing future doctors to save lives in real-world situations. Hyper-realistic infant simulators, such as SimBaby and TraumaChild, provide accurate training without the unnecessary cruelty involved in using animals.
Canadian residents can take action by signing a petition pushing for a shift to simulation. Learn more at SwitchtoSimulation.org.