Animal Writes
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From 31 August 2003 Issue

UCSD Halts Dog Labs 

High-Tech Teaching Methods Replace “Dog Labs”

WASHINGTON—For the first time, students signing up this fall for basic physiology and pharmacology courses at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), School of Medicine will not be performing invasive procedures on live dogs. Until now, dogs were used in six-hour teaching exercises and killed once the class was over. The university has now decided, however, to give the dogs a break.“

UCSD now joins the nation’s best medical schools, all of which have done away with crude, obsolete dog labs and replaced them with more exciting, clinically relevant, and humane teaching methods,” says Larry A. Hansen, M.D., a professor at UCSD. “Medical students are learning to preserve and prolong life, and the lethal dog labs ran counter to that basic goal.”

A study authored by Dr. Hansen, published in Academic Medicine, found that a majority of U.S. medical schools, including Harvard, Stanford, and Yale, no longer use live animals in any of their pharmacology, physiology, or surgery courses.

For several years, Dr. Hansen and other prominent members of the medical community have been urging UCSD to replace the lethal dog labs with high-tech alternatives. Now, UCSD joins the University of British Columbia, and other medical schools that have recently abandoned live animal labs in favor of more modern teaching methods.

For an interview with Dr. Hansen or another member of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), contact Jeanne S. McVey, 202-686-2210, ext. 316. This is the latest victory in PCRM’s long-running campaign to promote humane alternatives to live animal labs. Currently, more than 75 percent of U.S. medical schools do not use live animals in teaching exercises.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is a nonprofit health organization dedicated to promoting preventive medicine and higher standards in medical research, education, and practice.

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