Medical College’s Live Pig Mutilation Drills and Policy Reversal Under Fire From PETA

For Immediate Release:
May 12, 2022

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Memphis, Tenn. – PETA has sent a letter to University of Tennessee (UT) System President Randy Boyd and the UT Board of Trustees calling for an end to the College of Medicine’s invasive emergency training procedures on animals. The appeal comes after UT Health Science Center (UTHSC) Chancellor Dr. Peter Buckley responded to PETA’s complaint, stating that he would “check into this going forward”—but has now gone silent. The College of Medicine has also apparently reneged on its previous public assertion that live animals are not used in training emergency medicine residents.

“The UT College of Medicine has gone back on its word by maiming and killing gentle pigs in crude medical drills, and officials are apparently trying to hide it,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA urges UT’s top brass to intervene and swap animals on surgical tables for superior, cutting-edge human simulators.”

The College of Medicine’s training sessions—which are mandatory for certain responders of its affiliated medevac company, LIFE FORCE Air Medical—reportedly involve collapsing pigs’ lungs, cutting into an artery to induce bleeding, and cracking open the ribs if resuscitating the animals fails. In the end, pigs who survive the painful procedures are killed.

Superior, non-animal methods are available. Studies show that medical skills learned on pigs do not effectively translate to treating human patients, because of significant anatomical and physiological differences between species, and that medical professionals who learned lifesaving skills on human simulators are more proficient than those who trained on animals.

In a 2016 internal e-mail, Robert C. Fore, former interim dean and current associate dean for academic affairs at UTHSC College of Medicine–Chattanooga, warned, “The issue of live animal models will not go away. While we have removed this from the medical school curriculum, it remains in GME [graduate medical education]. So far we have not had a reporter be perceptive enough to press the question about GME, but it is coming. And our response will be viewed as being less than forthcoming about the use of animals on the Chattanooga campus. Discovering that we are still using animals, even though in GME, will be very damaging to the College of Medicine and our credibility.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind