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NEWS RELEASE January 30, 2003

Doctors Announce Victory as CU Finally Stops Killing Dogs for Medical Training

“Dog Labs” Have Been Replaced by High-Tech Teaching Methods

WASHINGTON—A doctors’ organization that has been campaigning to end animal laboratory exercises at the University of Colorado School of Medicine congratulated the University today for abandoning such exercises, at least for the present academic year. In a letter to University Chancellor James Shore, M.D., the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) expressed its hope and expectation that this change will become permanent. With this decision, CU joins nearly 70 percent of U.S. medical schools, including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and most other prestigious schools, which have done away with animal labs in favor of humane, high-tech, and cost-effective alternatives.

After years of protests, a successful lawsuit, and legislative campaigns by PCRM and others, the University of Colorado announced that first-year students will use computer simulations and analysis of prerecorded responses in the cardiovascular physiology laboratory instead of conducting fatal experiments on beagles.

The curriculum change follows a series of adjustments in CU’s dog laboratories since last year. Last spring, CU stopped buying dogs from “Class B” dealers, sometimes accused of engaging in unethical practices, and began purchasing dogs from “Class A” dealers instead. Earlier this month, the School of Medicine announced that it would use computer simulations to replace dogs in a respiratory lab and later decided to use nonanimal methods entirely.

“We congratulate CU on this appropriate and excellent decision,” says PCRM president Neal D. Barnard, M.D. “Now CU joins the very cream of the crop of medical schools, training new physicians without the use of animals.”

Since the first student successfully sued the University for the right to opt out of a fatal animal laboratory, many medical students have made the same choice. Last year, more than 40 students opted out of the cardiovascular lab, while nearly 60 chose not to do the respiratory lab.

This is the latest victory in the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s long-running campaign to promote humane alternatives to live animal labs.

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.

Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey

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