MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Protesters are camped outside a Minneapolis hospital calling for an end to using live animals in medical testing.
Many of the protesters are Minneapolis doctors and residents, and they are fighting for animal rights. They said Hennepin County Medical Center is one of the last hospitals to still be using animals in emergency medicine training.
According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), 89 percent of the 169 residencies surveyed in the Emergency Medicine Programs use human based methods. HCMC uses live sheep and rabbits for their training.
PCRM said the testing involves performing various medical procedures on the animals and then killing them once the training session is done.
Demonstrators are carrying signs and banners that say “End animal labs,” and “Modernize medical training.”
The group said HCMC needs to put an end to using animals in training and use the human based methods instead. They said it’s not only cruel but feel it’s not the best use for training.
“We never operated on animals at any time during that because it’s not a relevant model. There are much better ways to learn how to operate on, or do procedures on people. Hennepin County has those facilities available to them and they should use them and quit using animals,” Dr. Matt Clayton said.
HCMC responded with a statement saying in part: “It is our long-term goal is to eliminate the use of animals in our medical education programs. While we continue to reduce the use of animals, there are a few critical, lifesaving procedures that can only be reliably taught in an animal model.”
HCMC did not confirm if they kill the animals. They did mention they support the judicious use of animals in education in the interest of human health and animal welfare.
HCMC also had on-site inspections by both AAALAC and USDA, each of which resulted in reports of full compliance.