Victory! Southern Illinois University Cancels Plan to Use Pigs
Southern Illinois University (SIU) has canceled its plan to use live pigs in its emergency medicine residency program, a decision that came after the Physicians Committee spoke out against this unnecessary use of animals in a year-long campaign.
SIU will instead join the vast majority of top medical programs around the country in using only human-relevant methods to teach emergency medicine residents.
Physicians Committee doctors held a demonstration outside the SIU School of Medicine in October to protest the planned use of pigs. They also filed a federal petition asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to eliminate gaps in its enforcement of Animal Welfare Act regulations to ensure that nonanimal alternatives will be used to the greatest extent possible.
If SIU had gone through with its plan, residents would have been forced to make an incision in a pig’s eye to drain previously injected fluid and then make an incision between the pig’s ribs to insert a tube into the chest cavity. The residents would have then surgically opened the pig’s chest, made an incision in the throat, and inserted a breathing tube. After the training, the pigs would have been killed.
SIU would have been the only emergency medicine residency program in Illinois to use animals. According to a Physicians Committee survey, 86 percent of U.S. emergency medicine residency programs exclusively use superior nonanimal education methods such as patient simulators.