Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Friday, February 15, 2008

Johns Hopkins Med School Uses Live Pigs

Johns Hopkins Medical School still requires its students to perform live surgery on pigs.

Humane treatment? Necessary practice? You decide.

"[The animals] are treated remarkably well," explained Diana Scorpio, assistant professor and clinical veterinarian at Hopkins.

"They are under very deep anesthesia ... and then they are humanely euthanized."

Scorpio emphasized that very few of Hopkins's animals are used for medical instruction, and that the medical school has taken steps to reduce the number of animals used for teaching.

"Less than one percent is used in teaching and training ... 99 percent is used for research," she said.

In defense of using live animals to instruct medical students, Scorpio stressed that students who have experience with live animals "are much more proficient at understanding anatomy, and how to manipulate tissue in surgery."

...In a December 2007 letter addressed to Dean Edward Miller of Hopkins's School of Medicine, Executive Director of the National Center for Animal Law Laura Ireland Moore expressed the organization's dismay at the University's use of live animals in medical training. Moore accused the medical school of bending if not breaking the law.

"The use of animals in classrooms violates the spirit and letter of the Federal Animal Welfare Act," Moore wrote. "In light of the availability of superior, non-animal alternative technologies in medical school education, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine arguably violates the principles set forth in the Animal Welfare Act by using pigs in its classrooms."

Photo by bigbird3.

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