John Hopkins ends use of live animals in medical training


The story:

“Given that almost all medical schools have stopped using live animals in medical student education and that the experience is not essential, the School of Medicine has decided that the use of live animals in the surgical clerkship should stop,” Johns Hopkins officials told students on May 18. Use of live animals will stop in June 2016.

This is welcome news indeed. Johns Hopkins reviewed the state of medical training and decided using live animals is simply not required anymore. True, this decision comes in part due to pressure from animal activists. Remember, though, that Johns Hopkins is a top flight medical school. Rest assured that this institution would never stop a practice it truly believed was critical to training excellent physicians unless that practice could safely be dropped.

The poor pigs…

The sad reality is that pigs are so similar to us that we’ve abused them to learn more about ourselves. Today, we have alternatives equally or even more useful. There is no need to subject living animals to experimentation and death. One by one, thanks to the persistent efforts of groups like the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), medical schools have turned to these new alternatives.

Group of surgeons working in operating theatre

Group of surgeons working in operating theatre


Medical computer simulation offers incredible state of the art training without any of the ethical implications of using animals as human substitutes. Why should another living creature have to give up its life because this early training is so dangerous to its subjects? Yes, it’s beneficial to humans, but now that it’s not necessary, it needs to stop.

Think of it this way: commercial and military pilots learn first on a computer flight simulator before they ever apply their newly learned skills in the air. It’s not unreasonable for new doctors to begin training via computer before touching a real, live person.

Johns Hopkins’ decision means there’s now only a single medical school holdout. Only one of almost 200 schools in all of the United States and Canada continues to use live animals for medical training. It’s the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) Chattanooga. Why? When every top level medical school from Harvard to Johns Hopkins says using animals is simply not required, why does one school continue this unnecessary, ethically questionable and antiquated practice?

Please make the final domino fall. There’s a petition to sign. Do please read the whole article.

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