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Ethical Education and Training

Replacing Animals with Simulators in Medical Training

The Physicians Committee was instrumental in replacing animal use with simulators and other human-relevant training methods in all U.S. and Canadian medical schools and pediatrics residencies.

When Neal Barnard, M.D., founded the Physicians Committee in 1985, most medical schools used dogs and other animals teach medical students surgical skills and other procedures. At the end of the trainings the animals were killed. In 2016, after more than three decades of perseverance by the Physicians Committee, animal use was replaced with simulators and other human-relevant methods at all surveyed U.S. and Canadian medical schools.

In 2018, after a decade-long Physicians Committee campaign, the days of using cats, ferrets, piglets, and other animals to teach future pediatricians ended in all surveyed U.S. and Canadian pediatrics residencies.

Today, the vast majority of medical training uses simulators and other human-relevant methods. But the Physicians Committee continues to work to end animal use in areas of advanced medical training including emergency medicine training, Advanced Trauma Life Support, combat trauma training, and paramedic training.

Final Medical School Ends the Use of Animals in Training Students

Dr. Barnard talks about the end of the use of animals in medical student training.

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