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UW: Stop Using Animals to Train Paramedics

This petition had 5,244 supporters

The University of Washington (UW) in Seattle is cutting open and killing animals to teach paramedics and flight nurses. As a trained paramedic with more than 35 years of experience, I was shocked to learn this. I’m asking Washington residents to join me in calling for an end to this practice.

In the training lab at UW, pigs are used to teach a single procedure—known as “surgical airway”—in which an incision is made in the neck and a breathing tube is inserted. After five to six trainees perform the procedure on each pig, the animal is killed. For this, up to 36 pigs are killed each year. But there are more accurate, human-based ways of training. One of them is even made in Seattle—the TraumaMan System by Simulab.

Hundreds of medical training programs across the country are turning out first responders and physicians without the use of animals. In the Pacific Northwest alone, none of the other 15 surveyed paramedic training programs use live animals. Surgical airway is also a core procedure in the surgical skills component of Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) courses, which are overseen by the American College of Surgeons. Currently, 99 percent of surveyed ATLS programs—totaling more than 290 locations—use only human-based training methods.

Please join me in asking UW President Ana Mari Cauce to modernize the school’s paramedic and flight nurse training by replacing animals with human-based methods.

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