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taco_Bell_dog.jpegRight now, and all week, the New York Medical College — one of just two medical schools that continue to perform teaching procedures on live dogs cardio/physiology classes — is using live dogs. The animals are generally killed afterward.
When I called the College this afternoon, I identified myself as a blogger and a dog lover, and asked for a statement of the school’s response to the growing online protest led by The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The College’s Communications Director, Donna Moriaty, refused to send me the official statement. “I know what side of the issue you’re on,” she said, as if that was a reason not to send the school’s official statement to me.
Do they only communicate with bloggers who agree with their outdated practice? Or would they have sent me the statement if I hadn’t identified myself as being against it? Blogs, by definition, contain the opinions of their authors. We come right out and say what we think instead of hiding behind fictional “objectivity.” I guess that’s scary to Ms. Moriaty.
PCRM’s website explains effective, and widely used alternatives to the use of animals in medical school education. Ryan Merkley, PCRM’s Research Coordinator, told me that many universities and medical colleges use an alternative teaching method, called the Human Patient Simulator Here is an article about a HPS in use at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Canada. It’s one of several models manufactured by METI, Medical Education Technologies, Inc., which also is one of the sponsors of the upcoming Medicine Meets Virtual Reality conference in Long Beach, CA.
This year, eight more schools have added their names to the list of medical schools that no longer use live animals to teach basic concepts in physiology, pharmacology, or surgery. “The overwhelming use of non-animal teaching methods shows that these alternatives are not only available but are preferred by the vast majority of medical schools.”
All but 15 of the 125 U.S. medical schools have stopped the use of animal laboratories in education, according to Good Medicine Magazine
The program underway this week at NY Medical College is like one at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Detailed information and videos are on this site.