‘Patients are not pigs’: Doctors protest Brown’s live animal medical training

Doctors and activists gathered outside the Rhode Island State Capitol on Thursday afternoon, holding signs that read, “Our Patients Are Not Pigs.” Protesters rallied in support of RI’s House Bill 5357. This prohibits the use of medical training procedures on live animals if alternative training methods exist or if equivalent training programs in the state do not use live animals.

Rhode Island Hospital — the “Principal Teaching Hospital of Warren Alpert Medical School,” according to its website — is one of eight medical centers in the U.S. and Canada and the only emergency medical residency program in Rhode Island. doing. Use live animals according to the PCRM report.

Now Brown uses live pigs to teach emergency medicine doctors. The university has previously been criticized for using animals in training procedures.

Ryan Markley, director of research advocacy for the National Nonprofit Physicians Commission for Responsible Medicine, which sponsored the protest, said the purpose of the protest was to “reach legislators and bring H5357 to their attention.” to pull,” he said.

The bill is “very straightforward,” Markley said. “It’s just saying: See, if other people are doing without animals, so should you.”

Bill 5357 was introduced in the House on February 3rd. At a hearing on March 2, the commission recommended that the bill be held for further consideration for passage.

Throughout the day, protesters circled Brown’s campus, Rhode Island Hospital, and the State Capitol, driving trucks with flashing lights and signs that read, “Our patients are not pigs!” Please upvote H5357. “

Rebecca Kislak ’94 State Rep. (D-Providence), a co-sponsor of the bill, spoke with The Herald at the protest. “We shouldn’t inflict suffering on other living beings and there should be better ways to do this,” she said. Kislak was unable to provide a planned timeline for the bill. .

Former university faculty member Lynn Taylor MD RES’00 joined the protest in support of the bill. She is animal suffering,” she said.

According to Taylor, using simulations that mimic human anatomy and physiology to train emergency medical procedures “really sees no reason to continue operating on pigs.”

Taylor described residency training, which included the live pig procedure, as “traumatic” and regrettable.

“Researchers and leaders at Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital are committed to the highest standards in the responsible use of animals in the limited cases where animals are used to train medical professionals,” said the university. Spokesperson Brian Clark wrote in an email to The Herald.

“We need our residents to be able to respond quickly and effectively to the most complex situations,” Clark added. “As part of the Braun Emergency Medical Residency Program, training will be supervised by physicians and veterinarians and will be conducted in full compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.”

Another doctor who participated in the protest, Margaret Peppercorn, also had experience using live pigs in medical training procedures. “I thought it was terrible at the time, but I didn’t see it as an option.”

Peppercorn says other training methods are also more medically rigorous. The procedures for pigs differ from those of humans because “pigs’ skin is much tougher and more difficult”.

Members of the Brown Animal Rights Coalition worked closely with the PCRM to distribute an online petition calling on universities to stop training with live animals. The petition received nearly 4,000 signatures.

“Students support this bill,” said Hari Dandapani ’23, one of the BARC student leaders who participated in the protest.

Lucy Cohen ‘23.5, who also held a rally in front of the State Capitol, added, “As Brown students, it is our responsibility to hold our administration accountable for its atrocities.”

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Ryan Dougherty

Ryan Doherty is a Senior Staff Writer for The Brown Daily Herald. He covers news, science and research at the university. Ryan is his freshman from New York and intends to study chemistry.

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