PCRM Takes Action as Medical College of Wisconsin’s Dog Lab Draws Near
PCRM has stepped up our efforts to stop the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) from killing 60 dogs in a first-year physiology course later this month and end the use of animals in this course for good. PCRM sponsored a billboard in Milwaukee that gained the attention of local residents and the press, and held a protest along with the Wisconsin Humane Society outside the school.
“Don’t put man’s best friend under the knife.” That was the message of the billboard erected above Milwaukee’s Zoo Freeway urging motorists to help save the 60 dogs slated to be killed by MCW. The billboard also directed passersby to a new PCRM Web site–www.SaveMCWAnimals.org–that has complete information about the class and humane alternatives.
PCRM was joined by the Wisconsin Humane Society and more than 100 concerned local citizens at a protest outside the front gates of the medical college in January. PCRM senior medical and research adviser Aysha Akhtar, M.D., M.P.H., delivered to a representative of MCW more than 550 petitions signed by physicians around the country opposing the use of animals in medical education there and at other medical schools.
The class involves anesthetizing the dogs, opening their chest cavities, injecting pharmaceuticals, and then killing the animals. More than 85 percent of U.S. medical schools, including Stanford, Yale, and Columbia, use humane and educationally superior alternatives. Only two U.S. medical schools still use dogs in student training exercises, and only one of the top-20 ranked U.S. medical schools—Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis—uses any live animals. Human patient simulators and other human-centered alternatives are the preferred instructional tools. The MCW campus already has four human patient simulators.
PCRM recently filed a complaint with the federal government asking for an investigation of the use of live dogs at MCW. An inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that alternatives to using animals for medical education exist and that a “written narrative must justify why the alternatives were not used.” PCRM contends that MCW has not and cannot provide meaningful justification for using dogs instead of one of the many educationally superior non-animal alternatives.
PCRM Online, February 2007