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The Physicians Committee



Duke University Ends Live Pig Lab in Medical School Curriculum

pigLast month, PCRM learned that Duke University School of Medicine has joined the nearly 90 percent of U.S. medical schools that have completely eliminated live animals from their undergraduate medical education curricula. The school’s live pig lab was replaced with modern nonanimal teaching methods.

This acknowledgement from Duke brings the number of U.S. allopathic medical schools that use live animal labs to only 13. Most schools, including Columbia, Stanford, and Yale, have abandoned the use of animals in medical education. Twenty years ago, live dogs and pigs were commonly used in physiology, pharmacology, and surgery courses at medical schools. A standard laboratory exercise involved anesthetizing a dog or pig, followed by injecting pharmaceuticals or practicing surgical techniques. The animal was typically killed after the laboratory.

In many top-ranked medical schools, surgery instruction is now focused on the use of simulators such as Simulab’s TraumaMan and laparoscopic surgery trainers, as well as didactic teaching, class and small-group case discussions, interactive computer-based methods such as virtual reality programs, and hands-on mentorship opportunities with faculty in anesthesiology, surgery, emergency medicine, and other clinical disciplines.



 

PCRM Online, May 2007

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