For Immediate Release:
March 23, 2023
Amanda Hays 202-483-7382
Knoxville, Tenn. – Earlier today, PETA supporters confronted University of Tennessee (UT) Vice Chancellor for Research Deborah Crawford during her talk at the SPARKS: Broadband event at the Institute of Advanced Materials & Manufacturing, holding her feet to the fire over the UT College of Medicine’s (UTCOM) continued greenlighting of invasive medical training procedures on live pigs.
The pig defenders demanded that Crawford compel UTCOM to switch to the high-tech, animal-free human simulators used in the vast majority of comparable emergency medical training drills worldwide. Video footage is available here.
The training sessions in question involve inducing collapsed lungs, cutting into an artery to induce bleeding, and cracking open the ribs if resuscitating the pigs fails. The animals who survive the intrusive drills are killed. Maiming pigs is irrelevant to human emergency medicine, as the animals’ anatomy and physiology are vastly different from those of humans.
“Relying on pigs to train medical providers in human emergency procedures is not just abysmally cruel, it’s also bad science,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is urging Crawford to take immediate action to replace these shameful, archaic drills with superior, non-animal training methods.”
The animal allies’ action came after more than 96,000 PETA supporters wrote to university leadership urging an end to the pig mutilation. Among other campaign actions, PETA previously sent letters to UT System President Randy Boyd and UT Health Sciences Center Chancellor Peter Buckley, and a PETA representative spoke at the UT Board of Trustees meeting on October 28. After hearing from PETA, UTCOM’s hospital partner, Erlanger Health System, announced a new policy banning its staff—as well as its emergency medevac provider, LIFE FORCE—from participating in the live-animal medical training drills at UTCOM.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—points to an internal e-mail it obtained in which UTCOM leadership acknowledges that the public’s discovery of its animal drills “will be very damaging to the College of Medicine and [its] credibility.”
PETA opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.