Michigan Medical School Ends Live Pig Training

Students at Western Michigan University Medical School will no longer be required to insert tubes into live pigs to become doctors.

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Last month, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine (WMed) ended its live pig emergency medical training program. John Pippin, MD, the director of academic affairs for plant-based medical group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), contacted the school last year and asked that it use human-relevant training methods in place of its program—which involved cutting pigs’ eyes, inserting tubes and needles into their throats, and cutting their chests to access the heart. “WMed has adopted the best training practices and joined the 215 other emergency-medicine programs in the United States and Canada that train future doctors using only human-relevant methods,” Pippin told VegNews. “There is no place for animal use in medical training. Not only is animal use cruel and inhumane, but nonhuman animals are poor models for human anatomy and physiology.” Currently, 95 percent of the 226 medical schools PCRM has surveyed do not use live-animal training and instead prepare students to be doctors with the help of human cadavers and technological tools such as simulators. PCRM is now focusing on ending animal-based training at all schools—which it has successfully done at institutions such as University of North Carolina and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in recent years—and has launched a petition to remove pigs from training at University of Missouri (MU) Columbia School of Medicine.

Photos by Sam