New Study Details Global Collaboration in Replacing Animal Use in Surgery Training

PETA’s Donation of 119 Simulators to 22 Surgery Programs Worldwide Spares Thousands of Animals Mutilations and Improves Surgeons’ Skills

For Immediate Release:
September 26, 2018

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va.

The Journal of Surgical Education has published the first-ever study on the global modernization of Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) training courses, which has prevented thousands of animals from being cut apart and killed, improved surgeons’ lifesaving skills, and reduced training laboratory costs.

The study, co-authored by University of Florida College of Medicine–Jacksonville Professor of Surgery Dr. Marie Crandall and PETA Vice President of International Laboratory Methods Shalin Gala, describes a novel collaboration between the TraumaMan medical simulator manufacturer Simulab Corporation and PETA that has revolutionized how surgeons in 22 countries learn to treat traumatic human injuries in ATLS courses—using advanced human simulation technology. The simulators, unlike animals, are anatomically realistic and cost effective and allow trainees to repeat surgical skills until proficient.

Virtually all programs teaching the popular American College of Surgeons–sponsored ATLS course in the U.S., Canada, and other Western nations use Simulab’s TraumaMan simulator or other non-animal methods, but until now, ATLS programs with limited budgets in other countries have required trainees to cut crude holes into the chests, throats, abdomens, and limbs of thousands of live dogs, goats, pigs, and sheep each year.

“Surgeons around the world deserve the most effective and humane medical training available, and that means using lifelike simulators that bleed, breathe, and mimic human anatomy,” says Gala. “PETA’s collaboration with Simulab Corporation is equipping doctors with the tools that they need to learn to treat human patients while sparing the lives of thousands of animals.”

From 2012 to 2017, PETA surveyed ATLS programs in 64 countries. Of the 56 programs that responded, 18 (32.1 percent) initially replied that they used non-animal training methods, whereas 38 (67.8 percent) replied that they used animals for surgical-skills training, citing financial constraints as the primary barrier to adopting human-simulation methods. Through its collaboration with Simulab, PETA donated 119 TraumaMan models—valued at nearly $3 million—to ATLS programs in 22 countries. As a result, 75 percent of the programs that replied to the survey now use exclusively non-animal simulation models, preventing more than 2,000 animals each year from being mutilated and killed.

PETA notes that compared to animal-based exercises, TraumaMan systems are more portable and less costly and that, unlike animals, they’re reusable. Studies show that doctors who learn lifesaving surgical skills on TraumaMan models are more proficient than those who learn by cutting into animals.

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