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Tulane University Stops Killing Pigs for Trauma Training...For Now

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Tulane University Stops Killing Pigs for Trauma Training...For Now

From Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
February 2013

I am very excited to be able to share with you a long-awaited victory for animals used in trauma training. Tulane University in New Orleans has informed PCRM that it has replaced the use of pigs with the TraumaMan simulator to teach physicians in Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) courses.

The school now joins the 98 percent of ATLS courses in the United States and Canada that do not use animals for ATLS training.

This change follows PCRM’s campaign that began in 2007 and had tremendous support from our members, including local physician Leslie Brown, M.D., who worked closely with PCRM staff and volunteers to spearhead efforts for changes at Tulane. In 2010, Dr. Brown helped PCRM plan and hold a large public demonstration outside Tulane. She was also involved when we filed a state cruelty complaint against the school, and she wrote to administrators.

In 2010, PCRM led a demonstration outside the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans.

In addition, you and other PCRM supporters sent more than 66,000 e-mails to Tulane through the years encouraging the university to take this progressive step.

Tulane University’s ATLS Program Manager informed PCRM that “Tulane ended the use of swine for ATLS and now uses TraumaMan.”

However, the university has also indicated that it might return to using pigs in the future. So we need to keep the pressure on Tulane to not take a step backwards for the sake of all the people who will benefit from having physicians receive superior training and all pigs whose lives will be spared.

Before switching to nonanimal methods, Tulane’s ATLS course involved mutilating live animals. Specifically, course participants:

  1.  Made an incision between the pig’s ribs, through which a tube was inserted into the pig’s chest cavity;
  2. IInserted a needle into the chest cavity;
  3.  Inserted a needle into the abdominal cavity;
  4.  Inserted a needle under the breast bone and into the pericardium (the sac surrounding the heart);
  5.  At this point, the pig was killed and course participants were instructed to make incisions in the pig’s throat, into which a tube is inserted.

Ask Tulane to continue using modern, humane training. Please contact Tulane University School of Medicine senior vice president and dean Benjamin Sachs, M.B. to thank him for making the switch and to let him know that you think Tulane should stick with nonanimal methods in ATLS training. Take action: Ask Tulane's Dean to Stick With Nonanimal Methods in Trauma Training Courses