COLUMBIA, Mo.—On Nov. 16, physician Kerry Foley and Missouri residents will be on site at the University of Missouri (MU) School of Medicine to call for an end to the use of live pigs for training emergency medicine residents—and a switch to human-relevant methods. The Physicians Committee, a nonprofit representing more than 12,000 concerned doctors, is organizing the event.
WHAT: A physician-led demonstration urging MU School of Medicine to stop training on live animals in its emergency medicine residency program
WHO: Kerry Foley, M.D., with the Physicians Committee, and Missouri residents
WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 16, 11 a.m. (C.S.T.)
WHERE: 1 Hospital Drive, on the sidewalk near the emergency entrance
Nearly all emergency medicine programs in the United States and Canada exclusively use nonanimal training methods, such as medical simulation. Today, 92 percent of surveyed programs (195 of 211) conduct training solely using human-relevant methods, including Washington University in St. Louis and MU’s Kansas City campus.
The controversial training at MU involves cutting into live pigs to practice procedural skills, but the Animal Welfare Act’s implementing regulations “require that a principal investigator—including course instructors—consider alternatives to procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress to any animal used for research purposes.”
“The University of Missouri School of Medicine’s emergency medicine program should stop using animals, which fail to simulate the human body, and, instead, switch to human-relevant training methods,” says John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., Physicians Committee director of academic affairs. “There’s no valid reason for MU to renew its animal use protocol next month, and this deadline is an ideal opportunity to allow an educationally and ethically inferior training practice to expire.”
MU already has a state-of-the-art facility—the Shelden Clinical Simulation Center—that could provide the resources to replace animal use in the emergency medicine residency program.
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 and medical training.