Johns Hopkins medical school is last of top 20 in U.S. still using animal labs
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2008:
BALTIMORE–Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is “the lone
holdout among medical schools in the top 20 in the annual U.S. News &
World Report ranking still convening live animal labs,” wrote
Baltimore Sun reporter Jonathan Bor on March 27, 2008.
“Just 10 of the nation’s 126 M.D.-granting medical schools
use live animals during surgical rotations, according to the
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,” Bor added.
Ironically, the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to
Animal Testing, founded in 1981, is the oldest such center in the
Among the other top-ranked U.S. medical schools, New York
Medical College in November 2007 announced that echocardiography and
simulators would replace the use of live dogs to teach heart function
to first-year medical students, beginning in 2008.
Case Western Reserve University announced in December 2007
that it had already quit using live dogs, cats, and ferrets in
medical training, and would eliminate the use of pigs after the
spring 2008 semester.
The Medical College of Wisconsin quit using dogs in teaching
exercises in 2007, but still uses pigs. PCRM protested a February
2008 exercise using 36 pigs with a billboard posted nearby.
Altogether, 12 U.S. medical schools have quit using live
pigs since 2006, Dallas cardiologist and PCRM representative John J.
Pippin told Bor.
Medical schools abroad are moving in the same direction.
Monash University in Australia is among the holdouts. Australian
shadow minister for agriculture John Vogels in February 2008 asked
the Department of Primary Industry to investigate Monash exercises in
which undergraduate clinical and experimental cardiovascular
physiology students make an incision in the throats of anesthetised
rabbits, insert a catheter, and administer drugs to adjust the
rabbits’ heart rates.
“The rabbits are then given a fatal drug overdose and
disposed of,” reported the Melbourne Age. About 30 rabbits per year
are killed in the exercises. Students may watch a videotaped version
of the procedure instead.
The trend toward eliminating live animal labs in medical
schools developed after dissection fell out of vogue in middle
schools and high schools, inspiring suppliers of teaching resources
to develop increasingly sophisticated simulations, which eventually
replaced more advanced and costly procedures.
The replacement process recently gained momentum in Russia.
“The International Network for Humane Education and the
Department of Ecology, Health & Safety and Hunting Management of the
Faculty of Zoology at Tomsk Agricultural Institute have signed a
formal agreement to end the use of animals for dissection,”
announced InterNICHE coordinator Nick Jukes and Elena Maroueva,
co-founder of the animal rights group VITA.
“InterNICHE and VITA will supply the department with computer
hardware and zoology software,” Jukes and Maroueva said on March 17.
“The project will save hundreds of animals every year. Tomsk
Agriculture Institute has become the sixth Russian higher education
institute to sign an agreement with InterNICHE to end such use of
animals in teaching,” Jukes and Maroueva added.
The Tomsk project was funded from a bequest by Tatyana
Pavlova, founder of the Centre for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
in Moscow, who died on August 21, 2007.
In India, the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education in
February 2008 instructed sixth grade syllabus publishers to omit
experiments involving mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. A
similar directive was issued in 2005 to eliminate such experiments
during the last two years of high school.