Vivisection May Wane in Military; Still Going Strong at UW School of Medicine

Vivisection is defined as a surgery used for experimental purposes on living organisms, typically animals having a central nervous system. NHES opposes vivisection. Living, breathing, sentient beings should not have to undergo the terror of the laboratory. So, we are pleased with the introduction of the BEST Practices Act (Battlefield Excellence through Superior Training Practices Act, HR 403), which would end the use of live animals in military medical training courses.

Please write a letter to the chair of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Representative Bob Filner, thanking him for introducing the bill. Then send a letter to your representative urging him or her to support this bill.

The Honorable Bob Filner
House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
335 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Photo by Mika Hiltunen

Across the United States, many medical-related courses that once used live animals as test subjects are now being taught using only human-based simulators. For instance, 85 percent of pediatrics residency programs in the United States do not use animals. Medical simulators such as Gaumard’s Premie HAL and Laedral’s SimNewB, which was developed in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics, accurately replicate the airway of a premature and average newborn, respectively. Both of these simulators are superior training tools for endotrachael intubation compared with the use of live animals.

However, the University of Washington School of Medicine continues to use ferrets in its pediatrics residency program.

According to Dr. John Pippin, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, “It’s especially inhumane and especially indefensible [to use live animals] when there are alternatives in hand which not only would spare the animals the trauma of going through this but also would provide a better educational experience.”

Learning to intubate a ferret is hardly good practice for learning to intubate an infant. Please write the dean of the School of Medicine urging his school curtail the use of live animals, especially ferrets, in the school’s pediatrics residency program.

Dr. Paul G. Ramsey
University of Washington School of Medicine
1959 N.W. Pacific Street
Seattle, WA 98195

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