Skip to main content

Support our lifesaving work. Make a donation to the Physicians Committee today. | Donate Now

  1. News Release

  2. Feb 6, 2020

Doctor-Led Demonstration, Mobile Billboards Challenge Board of Curators To End Live Animal Use at MU

Group Advocates for New, Superior Training Methods in Emergency Medicine Residency Program

COLUMBIA, Mo.—The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine—a national nonprofit with more than 12,000 doctor members—is urging the University of Missouri Board of Curators to end the use of live animals in the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) emergency medicine residency program.

On Thursday morning, the group held a demonstration outside the MU Memorial Student Union. Washington, D.C.-based emergency medicine physician Kerry Foley and area residents held a banner and signs that read “Modernize Medical Training” and “End Animal Use.” Dr. Foley also submitted written comments to the UM System Board of Curators, who were convening for a meeting inside the student union.

As demonstrators assembled, three mobile billboard trucks circulated campus, displaying the message “UM Board of Curators: Pigs Don’t Belong in the ER.” Hoof prints are depicted, trailing into an emergency room door.

At MU, live pigs are used for training emergency medicine residents, but compared with humans, pigs have smaller torsos, lighter limbs, and thicker skin. There are also important differences in the anatomy of the head and neck, internal organs, rib cage, blood vessels, and the airway.

According to an ongoing survey of emergency medicine programs in the United States and Canada, 96 percent (259 out of 269) exclude live animal use, including Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Instead of animals, human-based medical simulators and human cadavers, which can be used to teach all emergency procedures, are widely used. The simulators accurately replicate human anatomy and physiology and can include layers of lifelike skin, fat, and muscle. MU’s Shelden Clinical Simulation Center could provide the resources to replace the use of live animals for training MU’s emergency medicine residents.

“MU has a choice to make: Join the vast majority of emergency medicine residencies in offering modern, relevant training experiences, or continue to teach procedures in a way that is a disservice to the residents, their future patients, and the animals used,” said Physicians Committee member Kerry Foley, MD.

To interview Dr. Foley or for a copy of comments submitted to the Board of Curators or the billboard, please contact Reina Pohl at 202-527-7326 or

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.

More on News Release