A doctor from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine [PCRM] is urging Missouri University (MU) to end the use of live animals in its emergency medicine program.
The campaign, led by Dr. Kerry Foley, saw protestors assemble outside the School of Medicine at the end of last week.
Campaigners - and PCRM - want to see an end to the use of live pigs for training emergency medicine residents - and a switch to human-relevant methods.
'Strict and humane'
According to a University of Missouri Health Care spokesperson, Jennifer Coffman, protocols for animal use are 'humane and strict'.
She added that medicine resident physicians train on about six animals a year - only in rare cases when they cannot be appropriately taught measures using simulation.
But according to PCRM: "The controversial training at MU involves cutting into live pigs to practice procedural skills, but the Animal Welfare Act’s implementing regulations 'require that a principal investigator - including course instructors - consider alternatives to procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress to any animal used for research purposes'."
'No valid reason'
John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., Physicians Committee director of academic affairs, added: "The University of Missouri School of Medicine’s emergency medicine program should stop using animals, which fail to simulate the human body, and, instead, switch to human-relevant training methods.
"There’s no valid reason for MU to renew its animal use protocol next month, and this deadline is an ideal opportunity to allow an educationally and ethically inferior training practice to expire."
MU reportedly already has a state-of-the-art facility - the Shelden Clinical Simulation Center - that the PCRM believes could provide the resources to replace animal use in the emergency medicine residency program.