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  1. News Release

  2. Aug 28, 2018

Billboards Target University of Missouri’s Use of Live Animals for Medical Training

Doctors Group Urges Switch to Human-Relevant Methods

COLUMBIA, Mo.—Three new stationary billboards and one mobile billboard in Columbia challenge training methods at the University of Missouri School of Medicine (MU). Sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a national nonprofit of more than 12,000 doctors, the ads depict a doctor in a white coat giving a thumbs down and state “What does MU have that 95% of emergency medicine residencies don’t? Live Animal Labs” and “Univ. of Missouri: Stop Using Live Animals to Teach Human Medicine”

MU’s controversial training involves cutting into live pigs to practice procedures, even though the practice is disappearing elsewhere. Currently, 95 percent of surveyed emergency medicine residencies (229 of 242) in the United States and Canada exclusively use nonanimal training methods modeled on human anatomy.

Every other emergency medicine residency in Missouri uses nonanimal methods, including MU’s sister program in Kansas City, where leading faculty Stefanie Ellison, M.D., and Christine Sullivan, M.D., asserted in a 2013 paper that simulators are “ideally suited” for emergency medicine training, and are “well established in [emergency medicine] residency training.”

Kansas City native and nationally syndicated cartoonist Dan Piraro is also offering his thoughts on the issue. “If I were running a university med school and could join other elite programs by ceasing animal suffering and adopting more modern, effective means of education, I’d do it in a heartbeat,” said Piraro, who studied at Washington University in St. Louis and whose comic strip Bizarro is carried by more than 350 newspapers.

On the Physicians Committee’s behalf, Director of Academic Affairs John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., will send a letter to Patrick Delafontaine, M.D., dean of the MU School of Medicine, detailing why the emergency medicine department should modernize its training methods and eliminate animal use.

MU already has a state-of-the-art facility—the Shelden Clinical Simulation Center—that could provide the resources to replace animal use in the emergency medicine residency program.

Two ads are located on I-70, east of Exit 125, and a third is on I-70 at mile marker 131.5. The mobile billboard will circulate MU’s campus for five days.

To speak with Dr. John Pippin or for a copy of the billboard artwork, the mobile billboard route, or the letter to Dr. Delafontaine, please contact Reina Pohl at RPohl [at] (RPohl[at]PCRM[dot]org) or 202-527-7326.

Media Contact

Reina Pohl, MPH



Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.

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