Institutions make the switch from animals for training

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 11:31 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta University was one of those facilities that held animals for training, but that will be changing as the university and Medical College of Georgia are committed to ending the practice.

Surgical residency students will no longer use any animals to learn. This comes after eight doctors from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine delivered a letter to the president of Augusta University and the dean of the Medical College of Georgia.

The letter asked the institutions to stop animal use for medical training. In the letter, the doctors say: “MCG has an opportunity right now to make its surgery training more humane and more consistent with national standards.”

According to the committee, 76 percent of surgery residency programs use only non-animal training methods for students.

At least three of the eight doctors who signed were alumni of MCG, and they didn’t only use a letter to get their protest across, they also used this: billboards. The committee sent two mobile billboards around the campus today as well.

But AU is no stranger to animal use controversy. Back in 2017, an animal researcher at the university claimed the institution tried to cover up the death of his monkey. But it seems the billboards sealed the deal as the university released a statement today, stating:

“Animal models have been used selectively to help surgery residents learn specific techniques like laparoscopic procedures. Effective immediately, the residency program will transition to other educational models.”

According to the Humane Society, for nearly a century, drug and chemical safety assessments have been based on laboratory testing involving rodents, rabbits, dogs, and other animals.

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