PCRM Ramps Up Live Animal Lab Campaign, Launches New Whistleblower Hotline
Now that more than 90 percent of medical schools have replaced live animal labs with the many effective and humane alternatives, PCRM is focusing even more attention on the 10 schools that cling to the outmoded and cruel labs.
In January, senior medical and research adviser John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., and PCRM’s legal team filed a Petition for Enforcement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, arguing that the schools—by refusing to implement alternatives—are violating the federal Animal Welfare Act. Also in January, actor James Cromwell, known for his role as Farmer Hoggett in the hit movie Babe, wrote to all of the schools using pigs for the labs. Cromwell explained how sensitive and smart the animals are and called on the schools to stop the labs. His letter attracted the attention of the media in a number of cities, helping to educate more of the public about the controversy.
On February 15, the first day of a hotly debated pig lab at the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine in Portland, Ore., PCRM launched a new hotline for students to report any problems they may observe during the lab, including incidents of animals regaining consciousness during painful procedures. PCRM has received reports from other medical schools over the years that animals used in such labs don’t always receive sufficient anesthesia. Dr. Pippin was on hand that day to let students know about the new toll-free line (1-888-6-TIP-USDA). A PCRM ad in the local paper asked students to “Blow the Whistle on Animal Abuse at Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine.”
Dr. Pippin and other PCRM staffers were also on hand for the first day of the controversial pig lab at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. After tremendous public outcry about the school’s previous use of dogs, the administration switched to pigs, a species they apparently thought would cause less concern. PCRM and more than 40 local activists proved them wrong at a peaceful demonstration on February 18. Dr. Pippin delivered a letter for T. Michael Bolger, the president and CEO of the school, with an offer from nine animal sanctuaries willing to adopt the 36 pigs who will be killed during the controversial physiology lab. He also stated clearly that the opposition to the lab will not end until the lab ends.
PCRM’s activities in Milwaukee and Portland have generated considerable media coverage, winning over more of the public to the plight of pigs in live animal labs. And PCRM’s activities are clearly making a difference. An article on January 25 in the Willamette Week quoted a spokesperson for the Oregon Health & Science University saying that his institution is planning to “re-evaluate the lab again this year to see if superior options exist.”