Stop Educationally and Ethically Inferior Animal Research

Taken from Physicians Committee on Responsible Medicine

Last week, the University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC) killed pigs for emergency medicine training. While validated and widely implemented nonanimal alternatives exist, UTMC continues to waste lives.

Three new billboards around Toledo caution residents and visitors about how UTMC provides substandard training to emergency personnel. The signs compare UTMC to three other regional programs – Case Western Reserve University, Wright State University, and the University of Cincinnati – all of which have opted for modern, human-relevant methods in their emergency medicine training. Ohio physicians supported our efforts by signing a letter urging UTMC to make the switch to simulation.

This collective effort has generated some great local media coverage from Toledo News Now (FOX/CBS) and NBC-24. However, there is still work to do. Our billboards will be up until Feb. 22, 2015, so please help us increase the pressure!

Join the efforts of our concerned physicians by e-mailing the dean of the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, Christopher J. Cooper, M.D., and telling him that Toledo deserves better.

During the Emergency Skills laboratory at UTMC, emergency residents, other physicians, paramedics, and nurses make incisions in a pig’s throat to insert a breathing tube, insert needles into bones, and split the breastbone in order to access the heart. After the training sessions, the animals are killed.

This animal use is at odds with current standards of practice in the United States. Eighty-six percent of surveyed emergency medicine residencies (115 of 133) in the United States and Canada use nonanimal training methods such as human-based medical simulation, cadavers, and task trainers. UTMC even admits in its animal use protocol that studies “concluded that the humane methods were adequate to achieve the desired skills.” The university already has a state-of-the-art simulation center—the Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center—that could provide the resources and simulation capabilities to replace the use of animals.

Please ask Dr. Cooper to end this educationally and ethically inferior practice by replacing the use of animals with human-based methods immediately.

Thank you for your help.



John J. Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C.
Director of Academic Affairs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *