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Cruel Use of Animals in ATLS Courses Ends at Two More Universities

In September, PCRM confirmed that the University of Vermont College of Medicine and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics have stopped using live animals to teach emergency procedures in Advanced Trauma Life Support courses. The confirmations came less than four months after PCRM filed official complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service citing the unlawful use of live animals by the two universities.

Unfortunately, the cruel and unnecessary use of live animals in Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) courses continues at a handful of institutions, including the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s (UMDNJ) University Hospital in Newark. But PCRM is optimistic that, with your help, we will persuade the programs that continue to use and kill animals to switch to the approved, cost-efficient teaching tools that are so widely available.

PigletThis fall, the UMDNJ system offers ATLS programs at three facilities—but there’s one major difference among the courses. In September, participants at University Hospital cut into live, anesthetized pigs who were killed at the end of the course. On October 2 and 3, ATLS trainees at Cooper University Hospital in Camden will sharpen their skills on cutting-edge human patient simulation technology. Likewise, UMDNJ’s Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick uses simulators instead of animals.

Cooper University Hospital and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital are two of the 90 percent of U.S. facilities that teach ATLS courses exclusively with nonanimal models. The vast majority of those facilities use the TraumaMan System, approved by the American College of Surgeons, the ATLS oversight body, which has also approved other nonanimal models such as SimMan and cadavers for use in these courses.

Of the three UMDNJ campuses that offer ATLS courses, University Hospital is the only one that continues to have students practice on live animals. In fact, this is the only ATLS course in New Jersey that uses animals. 

“Every other trauma training program in New Jersey has stopped using animals to pursue better, more humane teaching methods. It's time for University Hospital’s trauma training course to do the same,” said John J. Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., a senior medical and research adviser for PCRM.

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

PCRM Online, October 2008

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