Thursday, September 3, 2009
Victory for Pigs in Canada
John J. Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C.
There was no valid justification for using
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Another Victory for Pigs in Canada
Life continues to improve for pigs in Canada. In July, PCRM announced an Advanced Trauma Life Support win for pigs in Toronto. Now, the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine announced that it too will stop using live pigs in its program and exclusively use the TraumaMan System.
PCRM planned to file a complaint on Sept. 2 with the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) against the University of Saskatchewan. It urged officials to end the use of pigs in upcoming trauma training courses because it violated Canada’s national animal welfare standards.
But PCRM’s senior medical and research adviser John Pippin, M.D., recently learned that the university purchased and received one TraumaMan System and will rent a second. The TraumaMan System will replace the use of animals in the university’s Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) program. The university’s decision was covered by Canwest, the largest media company in Canada, and was reported in newspapers and TV stations across the country.
“The use of live pigs at the University of Saskatchewan undoubtedly caused pain and distress, and there was no valid justification for using live animals,” says Dr. Pippin. “The university’s decision to purchase the TraumaMan System underscores what 95 percent of ATLS programs already know: nonanimal teaching methods offer a more effective—and more humane—way to teach lifesaving procedures.”
Prior to the planned September complaint, Dr. Pippin sent three letters to the head of the trauma training program, Paul Hayes, F.R.C.S.C., that went unanswered, although he acknowledged seeing the letters. In the letters, Dr. Pippin asked that Dr. Hayes stop killing pigs in its trauma training program and switch to superior nonanimal training methods.
The win follows PCRM’s recent success at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, which stopped using animals and now exclusively uses the TraumaMan System.
But there’s still plenty of work to do in Canada and the United States. This summer, PCRM argued that Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s use of live pigs in a July trauma training course violated the federal Animal Welfare Act. ATLS training conducted at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee involves cutting into live, anesthetized pigs and practicing emergency medical procedures. Effective nonanimal training methods have been approved by the American College of Surgeons, the body overseeing these courses.
Vanderbilt is one of the last institutions in the country using animals in such courses. Lifelike human patient simulators or human cadavers are used at 95 percent of U.S. and Canadian facilities providing ATLS training.
But you can contact Vanderbilt’s dean of the school of medicine Jeffrey R. Balser, M.D., Ph.D., today and politely ask him to end animal use in the institution’s ATLS program before the October course.
To find learn more about ending animal use in ATLS programs, please visit HumaneTraumaTraining.org. Then join our Humane Trauma Training cause on Facebook.