- Roy ZiegelsteinJohns Hopkins University School of Medicine
- Paul RothmanJohns Hopkins Medicine
End Your Live Animal Lab Now
Johns Hopkins medical students are told to make incisions in a pig’s abdomen and insert long, thin tubes with lighted cameras known as endoscopes into the animal to practice surgical procedures. After the training, each pig is killed. Please tell Johns Hopkins to stop using live pigs in surgical training.
When I was a medical student at Johns Hopkins, I was instructed to practice procedures on a stray dog. To this day, when I think about this experience, I look back with great remorse. Four decades later, 99 percent of medical schools exclusively use human-relevant methods—not animals—to train future physicians. Where nearly every other school replaced animal use with modern tools like medical simulators and mentored patient care, Johns Hopkins simply replaced dogs with pigs.
After 40 years of practicing general and plastic surgery, I can confidently say there is no value in using animals—dogs or pigs—to teach human surgery. Future physicians cannot gain a greater respect for life by causing harm to and killing sentient beings.
Technology has advanced so much that human-based medical simulators can easily replace this use of animals. In recent years, the Department of Defense’s medical school—also located in Maryland—has ended the use of animals for teaching surgical skills to medical students.
All leading medical schools, including Stanford and Harvard, teach medical students without the use of animals, and in April 2015, Rush Medical College in Chicago ended the practice as well. Those schools see that there is no need for medical students to kill in order to become well-trained physicians.
I hope you will sign my petition to let Johns Hopkins know that it is time to end this unnecessary use of animals in medical student training.
- Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
- Johns Hopkins Medicine
There is no reason to use live pigs in medical student training. Nearly every other medical school in the country has ended the practice or never used live animals in the first place. Future physicians would garner a greater appreciation for the sanctity of life if your school would make the educationally superior and compassionate choice.
The continued use of animals in this way tarnishes the reputation of Johns Hopkins University.
Please end the use of animals in medical student surgical training and instead use modern, human-based medical simulation.
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