Ads Condemn Laval University's Substandard Education Methods

The Physicians Committee
NEWS RELEASE April 25, 2014
Ads Condemn Laval University's Substandard Education Methods

Doctors Target Use of Piglets in Pediatrics Training Program

QUEBEC CITY—Doctors with the nonprofit Physicians Committee have placed advertisements throughout Laval University’s campus urging the school to halt the substandard use of animals in its pediatrics training program. The doctors’ group is calling for an immediate shift to more effective and ethical training methods using medical simulators and other human-relevant techniques.

Laval University has the only pediatrics program in Canada—and one of only three out of 213 surveyed programs in the U.S. and Canada—still using animals. During the training, Laval pediatrics residents insert tubes into month-old piglets’ 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 will encounter three ads in bus shelters, which depict a piglet and demand a “switch to simulation.” “Une Formation Inadéquate = des Soins Inadéquats” (Inadequate education = inadequate care), the ads read. Located on Rue de la Terrasse, Avenue du Séminaire, and Boulevard Laurier, the ads will be posted for one month beginning the week of March 10.

“Laval University’s continued use of animals for pediatrics training is a substandard educational method that has been rejected by every other pediatrics program in Canada,” says John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C. “Laval pediatrics residents deserve the best possible educational experience to prepare them to care for newborns. A piglet’s anatomy is vastly different from a human newborn’s, and residents can get a better education using state-of-the-art human-centered technology.”

Nonanimal methods are readily available and more effective for use in medical training exercises. The vast majority of pediatrics programs use purpose-designed infant and neonatal simulators— such as SimBaby and TraumaChild—which mimic the airway of a low birth weight, premature newborn.

For an interview with Dr. Pippin, please contact Dania DePas at 202-527-7382 or

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

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