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You—and 20,000 Other Supporters—Ended the Live Dog Lab in Michigan

PCRM Billboard: Stop the Univeristy of Michigan's dog lab

We urged you to speak out—and your activism made a huge difference. Six weeks ago we called on you to help end the cruel and unnecessary use of live dogs in the University of Michigan’s trauma training course. Thousands of you took action—and the school listened. On Feb. 26, the University of Michigan announced that it will use only simulators in its Advanced Trauma Life Support course.

The University of Michigan (U-M) announcement that no dogs or other animals will be killed in the school’s Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) course came after administrators received more than 20,000 of your e-mails, letters, and phone calls. And 15,000 supporters joined the Facebook cause. PCRM also put up three huge billboards on well-traveled highways in Michigan that asked motorists to urge U-M not to “put man’s best friend under the knife.”

Doctors, paramedics, Michigan alumni, and people all across the country who care about animals spoke out in huge numbers—and the school’s Graduate Medical Education Committee decided that it agrees with you.

As PCRM cardiologist John Pippin, M.D, told The Detroit News, “We are delighted the university has made this change. To use family pets taken from shelters to teach a course that’s better taught using simulators is just gratuitous and it’s wrong.”

The announcement also received extensive Web, print, TV, and radio coverage, including local stories in the Detroit Free Press and on ABC, NBC, and Fox affiliates.

PCRM filed a federal complaint against U-M on Jan. 14, after obtaining documents under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act that revealed that the university was illegally using lost or surrendered pets—including a silver-and-black malamute named Koda—for these lethal procedures.

U-M now joins the more than 90 percent of United States and Canadian facilities no longer use animals for ATLS training. But there are still a handful of facilities killing animals, although effective nonanimal alternatives have been approved by the American College of Surgeons, the body that oversees these courses.

University Hospital in Newark, part of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), continues to use live pigs for its course, despite the availability of nonanimal alternatives like the TraumaMan System from Simulab. The hospital’s next ATLS course is scheduled for March 13.

The U-M win is proof that your voice can end the archaic use of animals in these classes. Now you can help end the use of live pigs for trauma training at UMDNJ.

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

PCRM Online, March 2009

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