E-Mails Reveal OHSU Doctors Conflicted About Slicing Up Live Pigs—but They Still Do It

For Immediate Release:
May 28, 2024

Brandi Pharris 202-483-7382

Portland, Ore.

PETA has obtained internal e-mails from Oregon Health & Science University’s obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) physician residency training program in which students and doctors express concerns about using live pigs in surgical training—yet the school continues to require that trainees mutilate pigs in invasive procedures. In a letter sent today, PETA is calling on Residency Program Director Ian Fields to switch to modern, human-relevant training methods.

The recently obtained e-mails were sent in spring 2023, after PETA launched a campaign urging the university to switch to human patient simulators.

In one e-mail, Dr. Aaron Caughey, the school’s OB/GYN department chair, expressed “mixed feelings toward the [live pig] labs.” An e-mail from the program’s leadership emphasized internal opposition, noting, “I met with chiefs last night and most of them do NOT find the pig lab to be useful.” A physician resident also said, “I do not want to participate in the live porcine portion.”

PETA supporters call for an end to the use of live animals in OB/GYN training at an Oregon Health & Science University Board of Directors meeting. Credit: PETA

“Oregon Health & Science University’s own doctors are questioning the validity of slicing up pigs during practice surgeries, but they’re still doing it,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “The school’s motives appear to have more to do with not giving in to PETA than good training.”

More than 100 accredited OB/GYN residency programs have confirmed that they don’t use live animals in physician training. Programs at Aurora Sinai Medical Center, Rush University Medical Center, and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center ended their use of live pigs in favor of animal-free simulation technology after hearing from PETA. After talks with the group, Henry Ford Hospital published a new public policy on its webpage stating, “The OB/GYN residency program at Henry Ford Hospital does not use animals for training purposes, and instead uses advanced human patient simulators and other non-animal methods.” Similarly, the U.S. Department of Defense banned the use of live animals in its OB/GYN physician residency training.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on or abuse in any other way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

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