Doctors Protest Baystate Medical Center’s Lethal Use of Pigs
Billboard and Physician-Led Demonstration on April 19 Urge Baystate Medical Center to “End Deadly Pig Labs”
SPRINGFIELD, Mass.—Baystate Medical Center should end the unnecessary use of live pigs in its trauma training course, says a national physicians group that sponsored a billboard and held a “Switch to Simulation” protest. Doctors with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) joined concerned Springfield residents on April 19 for a physician-led demonstration in front of Baystate Medical Center.
The billboard, located along 1-91N, north of I-291 near exit 8, shows a bloody scalpel beside the words, “Baystate Medical Center: Animal Cruelty Doesn’t Save Lives.” At the demonstration, physicians and other protesters carried signs reading, "End Deadly Pig Labs,” “Baystate: Using Pigs to Teach Human Medicine?" and “To Improve Education, Switch to Simulation.” Doctors also delivered a petition signed by Massachusetts physicians and residents urging a move to nonanimal methods.
“Cutting into living animals is a substandard way to teach emergency procedures that will be performed on humans,” says Massachusetts physician Marge Peppercorn, M.D. “These facilities should use state-of-the-art, human-centered methods for all trauma courses."
Trauma training at Baystate Medical Center involves cutting into live pigs to practice emergency medical procedures. After the training session, the animals are killed. Although the animals are anesthetized during the procedures, they are subjected to the trauma of confinement, shipping, preparation, and manipulation.
Ninety-eight percent of U.S. and Canadian facilities providing trauma training exclusively use nonanimal education methods, including Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Boston University School of Medicine, Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Berkshire Medical Center.
Baystate has access to human patient simulators that have been approved by the American College of Surgeons. Baystate operates an ACS-accredited medical simulation center—one of only 39 simulation centers in the world to have received this accreditation. If the simulation devices were fully utilized, the institution could immediately replace the use of animals.
For a copy of the billboard or petition or to speak with Dr. Peppercorn or Dr. Cramer, please contact Dania DePas at 202-527-7382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.