Urge North Dakota State University and Sanford Health to End the Use of Live Pigs for ATLS Training
Action Alert from All-Creatures.org


Physicians Committee
April 2017


Please ask North Dakota State University president Dean L. Bresciani, Ph.D., and Sanford Health president Paul Richard to replace the use of live pigs in their joint Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) program.

We have provided text for you, but if you decide to write your own message, please be polite and encouraging. Here are some talking points:

  • Please replace the use of animals in the ATLS training program at NDSU and Sanford Health.
  • Your ATLS program is one of only three in the United States and Canada known to use live animals.
  • The remaining 99 percent of ATLS programs (294 of 297) use only nonanimal training methods, especially the TraumaMan System.
  • TraumaMan is a realistic anatomical human body simulator that has lifelike human skin, subcutaneous fat, muscle, and blood vessels.
  • TraumaMan is endorsed by the American College of Surgeons, the organization that accredits ATLS courses, and is widely used.
  • In 2015, the U.S. military ended the use of animals in ATLS courses in favor of human-relevant medical simulation.

Sign an online petition.

And/Or better yet, make direct contact:

Dean L. Bresciani, Ph.D.
Office of the President
North Dakota State University
Dept 1000, PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 581086050


Earlier this month, we held a demonstration in Fargo to protest North Dakota State University (NDSU) and Sanford Health's use of live animals for trauma training. Physicians and local supporters joined us on a sunny Thursday morning as we called out the facilities for refusing to utilize the nonanimal training methods that are employed by almost every other Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) program across the country.

Join the efforts of our concerned physicians and local residents by contacting program officials and urging them to end this educationally inferior and unethical practice immediately.

Our goal was to facilitate replacement of the animal labs scheduled for April 10-11. The Physicians Committee even offered to pay for the rental of Simulab's TraumaMan System—the realistic human-body simulator used by the vast majority of ATLS programs—if NDSU and Sanford agreed to use it to replace animal use in the upcoming training labs.

Unfortunately, neither NDSU nor Sanford Health responded to our offer, and the lab took place. But we intend to keep the pressure on so that future courses don't use animals.

In NDSU and Sanford Health's course, trainees are instructed to make an incision between a pig's ribs to insert a tube into the animal's chest cavity and to insert a needle under the breastbone to drain fluid from the sac surrounding the heart. At this point, the pig is killed, and participants make an incision in the animal's throat to insert a breathing tube.

Meanwhile, 99 percent of surveyed ATLS programs in the United States and Canada (294 of 297)—including the two other programs in North Dakota: Altru Health Systems and St. Alexius Medical Center—do not use animals, opting instead for human-relevant training methods.

Thank you for everything you do for animals!

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