Group argues HCMC doesn't need to use live animals for training anymore

Author:
Updated:
Original:

A group of doctors with a national physicians group says Hennepin County Medical Center is behind the times when it comes to training on live animals – but the hospital argues it's still necessary for some key procedures.

The complaint comes from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and was sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and asks the agency to investigate practices at HCMC.

Here's a copy of the complaint the committee sent.

The complaint

The complaint from the committee – a nonprofit comprising more than 12,000 physicians – says HCMC is using live goats and rabbits to help with practicing and training for some procedures as part of emergency medicine residency training – including drilling holes into the skull, removing fluids around the eye and heart area, and placing chest tubes.

The complaint argues technology has advanced to the point where that's not necessary, and details a number of mannequins and simulators that include lifelike qualities, such as skin, realistic fat placement, and muscle. The group says these mannequins and simulators could replace the live sheep and rabbits in these procedures. You can see some of them here.

They also point out a survey found just 16 of 135 programs that responded still used live animals for training, and note HCMC is the only hospital in Minnesota to continue the practice.

The Animal Welfare Act also states training on animals has to be proven as "unavoidable" – which HCMC has not done effectively, according to the complaint.

HCMC has been approved to use up to 450 sheep (up to 20 procedures each) and 450 rabbits (up to three procedures each) over a three-year period, it says.

HCMC responds

The medical center however says while it's working to eliminate the use of animals, it argues that not everything it's doing can be replicated on a mannequin or simulator at this point.

HCMC says there are "a few critical, lifesaving procedures" that can only be taught "reliably" with the use of a live animal.

"Until we can be certain that the conditions present during procedures can be replicated with simulation we will continue limited use of animals, in addition to simulation and cadavers, in order to produce the most highly trained emergency and trauma physicians who will be prepared to save lives because of the training that they received," HCMC said in a statement.

Their long-term goal is to "eliminate" the use of animals in the training programs.

HCMC also says it supports the "judicious" use of animals as part of education and advancements in human health, and insists on "the humane and ethical treatment of animals."

"We adhere to all applicable federal, state, local laws and institutional policies and guidelines governing animal research," HCMC says.

Next Up

Malik Beasley

Timberwolves Malik Beasley suspended 12 games for offseason incident

Beasley was sentenced to 120 days in jail earlier this month.

Russell Wilson

Vikings fans should REALLY hope Russell Wilson doesn't go to the Bears

Wilson has a 6-0 record against Minnesota and could be on his way to the NFC North.

Ostroushko

Celebrated Minnesota musician Peter Ostroushko dies

Ostroushko, who learned his craft in the Ukrainian community of Northeast Minneapolis, had a versatile career including performances with popular artists and orchestras

Costco_Wholesale_Store_(34635636926)

Costco will bump its minimum wage to $16 next week

The company, which has 12 stores in Minnesota, is pushing ahead of retailers Target and Amazon with its new minimum wage

Seth Green/Gopher Football

Gophers wildcat QB Seth Green announces decision to transfer

Green will have immediate eligibility as a graduate transfer.

Minneapolis skyline

Minneapolis pays 3 times more than it receives in state funds, new report says

This report comes as state lawmakers are debating proposals opponents say would "bail out" the state's largest city.

Kirk Cousins

Coller: Is Kirk Cousins' contract extension helping or hurting the Vikings?

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

University of minnesota sign

U of M gets $5M donation for new center to address racial inequality in healthcare

Using a donation from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, the School of Public Health will work to address racial disparities in healthcare.

Related

N95 mask

3M sues Florida company that sold 10K counterfeit N95 masks to HCMC

The Maplewood company has obtained a temporary injunction against the firm.

They needed an ark: Animals of Duluth suffer flooding

A number of animals died in the flooding in northeast Minnesota, including some at the Lake Superior Zoo. But there were also some inspiring saves.

Animal rights group protests researchers' convention in Minneapolis

About 60 people on behalf of the Animal Rights Coalition protested the annual convention of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science at the Minneapolis Convention Center Sunday, claiming animal research is inhumane.