Dear PCRM supporter,
We need your help to end the cruel and unnecessary use of live animals at two Maryland medical schools. This week, PCRM and several Maryland physicians filed criminal complaints against the medical schools at Johns Hopkins University and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Please lend your support to these efforts by asking the deans of both schools to end this animal use immediately.
Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in Baltimore, uses live pigs in its medical student surgery clerkship, which occurs almost weekly. In the training session, live pigs are offered for students to practice suture and knot-tying skills and to perform simple surgical procedures. At the end of each session, the pigs are killed.
At the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, medical students are required to participate in four different animal labs—all of which could be replaced with available nonanimal training methods. In just one of these training sessions—part of the physiology course—53 pigs are killed each year. But according to the protocol, 10 percent of the animals die before medical students even perform a single procedure due to “difficulties in anesthesia induction and surgical preparation.”
You can watch a video of the physiology lab here. Warning: Video contains graphic images.
For another animal lab—part of the USUHS parasitology course—the school purchases live gerbils infected with the parasitic tropical disease filariasis. Filiarial roundworms grow inside the gerbils’ abdomens before being extracted and examined by medical students. The gerbils are then killed. Yet medical students can easily learn to diagnose filariasis microscopically using fixed samples. Students can also learn to identify filarial worms by viewing videos of living specimens.
So far, the responsible faculty members and administrators at JHU and USUHS have ignored pleas to improve this training and replace animals. Please help by contacting the deans of the JHU and USUHS schools of medicine today.
You can read our criminal complaints here (PDF.)
Thank you for all of your help.
Research and Education Programs Coordinator