Most People Want To End Animal Use In Medical Training, Says Survey

The proportion of people wanting to see an end to the practice continues to grow
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Animals are no longer used to train students (Photo: Ani Kolleshi)

Animals are no longer used to train students (Photo: Ani Kolleshi)

The majority of people want to see an end to the use of live animals in medical training, according to survey results published in Alternatives to Laboratory Animals.

Animals are still used in very few advanced medical training programs, including emergency medicine residencies or advanced trauma life support (ATLS) courses - but will effective nonanimal training methods widely available, and more evolving, animals use is falling.

'Morally wrong'

More than 66 percent of the 1011 survey participants said using live animals to train medical students and physicians, emergency physicians and paramedics, and pediatricians is 'morally wrong or unethical' if effective nonanimal methods are available.

A staggering 82 to 83 percent agreed nonanimal methods should be used over live animals in training, and 84 percent agreed that they would want their own doctor to be trained using methods that replicate human anatomy instead of using live animals.

Move forward

John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., Director of Academic Affairs at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C., said: "Experts have known for decades that animal use is a poor substitute for human-specific methods when learning about treating humans, but it can take time for the public to learn about and come to trust new ways of doing things.

"Having the public's encouragement to move forward and strive for progress benefits the sciences, which often rely on public support or approval."