Doctors Applaud UVA Medical School's Suspension of Dog Labs
But PCRM Insists that University Not Simply Substitute Pigs for Dogs
WASHINGTON—The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) congratulates the University of Virginia School of Medicine for its decision to suspend its live dog lab and review its use of animals in medical training. With this decision, UVA is on the verge of joining the nearly 70 percent of U.S. medical schools, including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and other prestigious schools that have done away with live animal labs in favor of humane, high-tech, and cost-effective alternatives.
Yesterday morning, the university announced the suspension of the “Life Saving Techniques Lab.” The next lab session, scheduled for February 16, has been cancelled. Every year, about 100 healthy dogs die during these labs. The school also says that Dr. Arthur Garson Jr., vice president and dean of the UVA School of Medicine, and R. Edward Howell, vice president and chief executive officer of the UVA Medical Center, have asked representatives of the school’s educational committees to review the use of animal models in medical education. This group will present its findings to Dr. Garson by March 1.
However, the doctors expressed serious concerns about rumors that the school might use pigs instead as a means of ducking criticism while continuing cruel laboratory exercises.
“We congratulate UVA for eliminating the dog laboratory,” says Megha Even, M.S., PCRM research analyst. “We hope the change is permanent and complete, putting UVA in the same ethical league as Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and Johns Hopkins.”
PCRM, a national nonprofit health organization, has worked with the local group Citizens for Humane Medicine, as well as UVA faculty and students, to persuade the university to end 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.