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The Physicians Committee

NEWS RELEASE November 5, 2008

Live Dog Use for Trauma Training at Idaho State University Violates Federal Law, Doctors Say in Complaint Filed with the USDA

Lost Dogs and Surrendered Pets from the Pocatello Animal Shelter Are Turned Over to the University for Lethal Procedures, Records Show

POCATELLO, Idaho—Live dogs from the Pocatello Animal Shelter are unlawfully used in advanced trauma life support training at Idaho State University, Pocatello, the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) alleges in a federal complaint filed this morning. More than 90 percent of U.S. facilities providing trauma training, including the Boise campus of Idaho State, use lifelike human patient models and other high-tech nonanimal methods.

Documents obtained by PCRM under Idaho's Public Records Act reveal that the shelter is turning lost or surrendered pets—including a black-and-white border collie picked up when he was still trailing his blue leash—over to ISU for these lethal procedures. Advanced trauma life support training involves cutting open a live, anesthetized dog and practicing emergency medical procedures. After the training session, the animals are killed. Effective nonanimal alternatives have been approved by the American College of Surgeons, the body that oversees these courses.

"Idaho State University's Pocatello campus is one of the last facilities in the country still using live dogs for advanced trauma life support training," says cardiologist John J. Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., PCRM’s senior medical and research adviser. "The school should stop using animals in these inhumane classes immediately, especially since nonanimal teaching methods actually offer a better way to master lifesaving procedures that will be  used on human beings."

The complaint, which will be filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Western Region, states, "We believe that this animal use is a violation of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) because there are equivalent alternative nonanimal technologies available, and because the principal investigator and ISU's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee failed to adhere to AWA guidelines for justification of live animal use."

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 McVey
202-686-2210, ext. 316

John J. Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C.
John J. Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C.

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