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

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

Studies have shown that the best available emergency medical training comes from non-animal human simulators. By using pigs, UTCOM personnel are receiving 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.

Emergency medevac provider LIFE FORCE—based at Erlanger Health System, which is UTCOM’s teaching hospital partner—participated in these training sessions at UTCOM. Its employees had to practice invasive procedures on live pigs—including IV insertion, oral intubation, and chest tube insertion—or risk losing their jobs. PETA received information that LIFE FORCE staff described the training as a “waste of time” and “cruel and misguided.”

But after pressure from PETA and more than 75,000 of our supporters, Erlanger Health System announced a new policy banning its staff from participating in 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

But UTCOM continues to be 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.

PETA sent a letter to UTHSC Chancellor Peter Buckley—and Emmy winner and star of Babe James Cromwell sent a letter to him as well—demanding a switch to more effective, ethical, non-animal training methods. Buckley replied that he would “check into this going forward” but has not yet taken further action.

We also wrote a letter to University of Tennessee System President Randy Boyd and the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees pointing 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. Furthermore, we cited 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 contact other officials at UTCOM and UTHSC.

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

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