Victory Spares Pigs in Albany

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Victory Spares Pigs in Albany

From Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
April 2009

Your action helped end the use of live animals in another trauma training program. We asked you to help end the cruel and unnecessary use of live pigs in Albany Medical Center’s Advanced Trauma Life Support course. More than 4,000 of you took action—and the medical center listened! Last month, Albany Medical Center informed PCRM that it will use only simulators in future classes.

On March 17, the school’s executive associate dean sent a letter to PCRM stating that Albany Medical Center (AMC) "will be using simulated models, as approved by the American College of Surgeons, for all future Advanced Trauma Life Support courses."

The announcement follows the official complaint PCRM filed in November 2008 with the U.S. Department of Agriculture citing the unlawful use of live animals in the course by AMC. Just days after the complaint was filed, AMC canceled the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) class it had scheduled for Nov. 13.

Since November, Albany Medical Center has heard from thousands of people concerned about the school’s use of live pigs in the ATLS course. The center’s continued use of animals for the class—rather than approved nonanimal methods—also received extensive media coverage, including an op-ed by PCRM member and surgeon Patricia Fox, M.D., F.A.C.S., and an article in the Times Union, Albany’s local newspaper.

AMC now joins the more than 90 percent of United States and Canadian ATLS programs—including every other program in New York state—that have improved the quality of training by opting for human-based simulators and eliminating the use of animals.

So far this year, your hard work has helped end animal suffering and improve medical education in New York and Michigan. Now we need your help to do the same thing in North Dakota, where MeritCare Medical Center in Fargo continues to use live pigs for its ATLS course, despite the availability of nonanimal alternatives like the TraumaMan System from Simulab.

On April 27, live, anesthetized pigs will be unlawfully killed after they are subjected to the trauma of confinement, shipping, preparation, and experimentation.

“MeritCare Medical Center is one of the last facilities in the country still using live animals for advanced trauma life support training,” says Neal Barnard, M.D., president of PCRM and a Fargo native. “MeritCare is a leader in so many other ways. It should be using newer, nonanimal teaching methods.”

To find out how you can stop pigs from being killed at MeritCare, please visit Then join our Humane Trauma Training cause on Facebook.

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