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The Physicians Committee



University of Rochester Drops Live Animal Labs From Medical School Curriculum

pigletAnother medical school has embraced humane alternatives to live animal labs. When the reins of the University of Rochester School of Medicine’s third-year surgery clerkship were turned over to a new instructor earlier this year, the school turned over a new leaf as well. The class’s live pig lab was replaced with modern medical simulators and other nonanimal teaching methods, and the school joined the more than 85 percent of U.S. medical schools that have completely eliminated live animals from their undergraduate medical education curricula.

After receiving confirmation from the new instructor of the third-year surgery clerkship that no live animals are used in the course, PCRM contacted the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology and the Department of Anesthesiology at the School of Medicine. Representatives confirmed that live animals are not used in any of the departments’ undergraduate medical school courses. Lastly, PCRM obtained confirmation from the school’s administration that there are no longer any required or elective medical school courses using animals.

Trauma manAll but 16 of the 125 U.S. allopathic (M.D. degree) medical schools have discovered the viable and educationally superior alternatives to animal use in education. In many top-ranked medical schools, surgery instruction is 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.

What You Can Do

  • Read more about alternatives to animal labs in medical schools.
  • Review our list of the 16 medical schools that continue to use live animal labs. Please consider writing to your local universities or alma mater to express your concern about their continued use of these exercises.


 

PCRM Online, November 2006

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