pigs another Cleveland Clinic animal laboratory victim Tell OHSU to Stop Using Live Pigs for OB/GYN Surgery Practice

Tell OHSU to Stop Using Live Pigs for OB/GYN Surgery Practice

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Doctors-in-training at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) use live pigs as human stand-ins to practice surgeries as part of the school’s obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) residency program, according to disturbing public records obtained by PETA.

We sent a complaint to OHSU urging it to adopt a public policy against using live animals in its OB/GYN residency training, but officials have refused to respond. We need your help to demand that the school end this needless cruelty immediately.

The records PETA obtained show that at least 64 physician OG/BYN residents cut into as many as 48 live female pigs, dissected their organs, and performed other invasive surgeries on the animals—all of whom were later killed. Residents participated in five OB/GYN training drills on live pigs between 2019 and 2021 at OHSU, making the university an outlier among its peer accredited institutions and out of step with educational best practices, which have largely moved away from grotesque and deadly live-animal mutilation drills.

Most Schools Have Moved On
The overwhelming majority of accredited universities have abandoned live-animal training, according to an ongoing PETA survey of OB/GYN residency programs recognized by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Instead, programs such as the ones at Rush University and Aurora Sinai Medical Center use advanced, human-relevant simulators, which are equal, if not superior, to training on live animals.

Even the U.S. Department of Defense has banned the use of animals for OB/GYN residency training and several other medical education areas since 2014, stating unequivocally that “suitable simulation alternatives can replace the use of live animals.” Furthermore, there are federal ethical provisions in place that compel the minimization of animal use in experiments and training, including the federal Animal Welfare Act.

Live-Animal Training Is Substandard Education
In medicine, lifesaving decisions must often be made within seconds, so familiarity with human anatomical structures is crucial. Pigs and other animals cannot accurately mimic human anatomy. They are simply not the same.

For instance, pig uteruses have an entirely different structure from human uteruses. Other key structures also have different lengths in pigs vs. humans. There are myriad microscopic anatomical differences between pigs and humans within each organ, too. Substandard training using pigs, such as OHSU’s, fails to prepare doctors for real-life situations.

Better Methods Are Available, Cheaper, and in Use
Non-animal human simulators are available, are in use, and have proved to be more cost-effective and efficient, while accurately modeling human anatomy and physiology. Human simulators, which range from high-fidelity human-patient simulation to computer-assisted learning, create immersive scenarios mimicking real-world medical cases, providing students with hands-on training immediately applicable to human patients.

130206 F DB561 004 Tell OHSU to Stop Using Live Pigs for OB/GYN Surgery Practice

Gynecological simulators ranging from partial task trainers to advanced virtual reality systems are available. For instance, researchers have validated a cost-effective non-animal simulation model to teach vaginal hysterectomy—and another study found that high-fidelity simulators were “cheaper than practicing on laboratory animals” in the long term.

What You Can Do
Please take a minute to TAKE ACTION by sending OHSU a letter urging it to abandon its cruel, deadly training on live pigs and adopt a public policy banning the use of live animals in its OB/GYN residency training program.

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