Urge TN Medical School to Join Hospital in Ending Pig Mutilation Drills

UN LAB Middleware Label: Title Ends

Update (August 4, 2022): We’ve got great news! After pressure from PETA and more than 75,000 of our supporters, Erlanger Health System has announced a new policy banning its staff—including its emergency medevac provider, LIFE FORCE—from participating in medical training that uses animals.

“Erlanger’s policies and procedures do not include the use of live animals for any purpose including training. … To further support this endeavor of utilizing high-fidelity simulation models, Erlanger recently opened a new simulation lab for training which features six of these simulation models ranging from newborns to adults.” —Blaine Kelley, Public Relations Manager, Erlanger Health System

Previously, LIFE FORCE personnel were forced to attend training sessions held by the University of Tennessee College of Medicine (UTCOM) in which they had to practice invasive procedures on live pigs—including IV insertion, oral intubation, and chest tube insertion—or risk losing their jobs. PETA has received information that LIFE FORCE staff described the training as a “waste of time” and “cruel and misguided.”

We applaud Erlanger’s forward-thinking decision. But UTCOM continues to hold these vastly inferior training sessions on pigs. Please take action below to tell the medical school to follow Erlanger’s lead by switching to superior non-animal, human simulators.

photo of pig eyes

Originally published on December 9, 2021:

PETA has learned through records and other evidence that the University of Tennessee College of Medicine (UTCOM) is mutilating live pigs and using them as stand-ins for bleeding and critically injured humans during emergency triage training. Unlike the humans they replace, all the pigs who live through the training sessions are killed at their conclusion.

Emergency medical training is crucial, and studies have shown that the best available training comes from non-animal, human simulators. By using pigs instead of human simulators, UTCOM personnel are receiving vastly inferior training. Why? Pigs’ anatomy and physiology are vastly different from those of humans—their skin is thicker and their blood takes longer to coagulate, for example—which makes maiming pigs irrelevant to human emergency medicine.

UTCOM is also putting its staff on the wrong side of history. Worldwide, this type of bloody training is the exception, not the rule. For example, in 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard, following a PETA eyewitness investigation and extensive discussions with us, ended what the agency’s leader at the time called “abhorrent” trauma training on animals in favor of advanced human-simulation technology. More than 70% of NATO nations now provide military medical education without harming any animals.

When PETA became aware of this misguided training, we fired off a letter to the chancellor of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), demanding a switch to more effective, ethical, and economical non-animal training methods. Emmy winner and star of Babe, James Cromwell, also wrote to Chancellor Peter F. Buckley, M.D., demanding the same.

And we’ve written a similar letter to University of Tennessee System President Randy Boyd and the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees urging the school to end this barbaric use of animals. In it, we point out that UTCOM’s use of animals appears to be a blatant contradiction of UTCOM-Chattanooga’s claim that animals aren’t used in its emergency medicine residency training—and we cite an internal e-mail in which UTCOM leadership acknowledges that the public’s discovery “that [UTCOM is] still using animals … will be very damaging to the College of Medicine and [its] credibility.”

Please TAKE ACTION today and let UTCOM and the UTHSC know that maiming, mutilating, and killing animals must end immediately.

You can do so by sending polite comments to:

Giuseppe Pizzorno, Ph.D., Pharm.D.
Associate Dean for Research, UTHSC College of Medicine Chattanooga
[email protected]

Then, use the form below to make a similar request of UTCOM and the UTHSC.

R. Bruce
Shack, MD, FACS
UTHSC College of Medicine Chattanooga
Peter F.
Buckley, M.D.
University of Tennessee Health Science Center

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