No More Live Animal Experimentation for Johns Hopkins Students

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For years, medical students practiced certain procedures on live animals–primarily pigs–in order to hone their techniques before dealing with actual patients; afterwards, the animals are euthanized. But that practice has increasingly come under attack from animal rights activists.

While many universities and medical schools have been moving away from practicing on live animals for years, particularly now that computer simulations are so sophisticated, Johns Hopkins remained a holdout. Actually, until this week, Hopkins was one of only two med schools in the entire country that still trained on pigs. (The pigs are under anesthesia during the procedure, if that makes you feel any better.) Now, the university has announced that it’s finally removing the pig practice component from its surgical training course, the Baltimore Sun reports.

“The latest task force to examine the pros and the cons and the ethics decided that the bar has to be pretty high to justify doing this,” Hopkins spokeswoman Audrey Huang told the Sun. “While students were huge fans of the course it felt like it wasn’t absolutely necessary.”

The move comes after a number of notable Hopkins alumni and other physicians and experts unsuccessfully attempted to bring criminal complaints against the school for its treatment of pigs.

Now only one medical school in the country still has students practice on live animals: University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Chattanooga. But I have a feeling now that Hopkins has taken action, they might feel the need to do so as well.

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