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The Physicians Committee

Two New Trauma Training Victories

Medical centers in New Jersey and Saskatchewan have stopped using live pigs for trauma training courses.

Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) courses teach emergency medical procedures used to treat trauma injuries. At the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s (UMDNJ’s) University Hospital, ATLS courses involved practicing surgical procedures on live, anesthetized pigs.

"Last year, PCRM filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture against UMDNJ’s unlawful use of animals. The complaint cited an ongoing PCRM survey that showed that 95 percent of responding ATLS institutions used only nonanimal models—such as TraumaMan, a lifelike simulator—for ATLS instruction. University administrators also heard from thousands of doctors, alumni, and concerned citizens.

University Hospital now joins the four other New Jersey trauma training programs, including UMDNJ’s programs at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Cooper University Hospital, which have stopped using animals.

When PCRM learned that the University of Saskatchewan was still using animals for trauma training, PCRM cardiologist John Pippin, M.D., wrote letters to the head of the school’s trauma training program explaining that nonanimal trauma training methods are superior and widely available.

PCRM planned to file a complaint this September urging the Canadian Council on Animal Care to end the use of pigs in the University of Saskatchewan’s course because it violated Canada’s animal welfare standards. But shortly before the complaint would have been filed, the university purchased a TraumaMan human-patient simulator and announced that its ATLS program will eliminate the use of animals.

These wins follow PCRM’s recent successes at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, University of Oklahoma Medical Center, and the University of South Alabama, which now exclusively use nonanimal trauma training methods.

To learn how you can help end the use of animals in other trauma training programs, please visit


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