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Home > Article Categories > General Information > PETA Believes University of Michigan Violates the Animal Welfare Act

PETA Believes University of Michigan Violates the Animal Welfare Act

The University of Michigan is being castigated by critics for a course that instill knowledge to students on how to save human lives, yet uses animals in their trainings.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals submitted a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and requested for an investigation into U-M's Survival Flight course, which trains future nurses on board helicopters for survival flights using live cats and pigs.

Justing Goodman relates that the University of Michigan's students harness their intubation and trauma skills by inserting plastic tubes down cats' throats and into pigs hearts. Goodman is the associate director of PETA's Laboratory Investigations. He added that the procedures are deplorable, since the university offers three other courses that teach the same skills that doesn't involve any live animals and use simulators in their trainings instead.

"It's outrageous, absolutely indefensible and we believe illegal for the university to continue maiming and killing cats and pigs for medical training purposes for which they have already deemed simulators to be educationally superior to animal use," Goodman said.

On the other hand, the University of Michigan said in a prepared statement that it stands by its policy of using animals for the training of Survival Flight staff.

"Despite the availability of simulators and other teaching aids, the unique environment that Survival Flight is forced to practice in requires these procedures to be performed on live tissue," the statement said. "There is no substitute for this type of training."

Mark Lowell an Associate Professor who teaches the course, was not available for comment.

Associate Professor Mark Lowell, who teaches the course, was not available for comment.

PETA provided documents showing that the animals (cats and pigs) being used in the course would be anesthetized on the training and would either be adopted or euthanized after.

Margarita Bauza-Wagerson, University of Mchigan's spokeswoman said most of the cats are adopted, and the procedures are just like the ones used on human patients and are used by vets every now and then. Unlike doctors, advance -practice flight nurses who receive this training have no opportunity for supervised training on these procedures in human patients before treating patients in the field, she added.

In and email written by Bauza-Wagerson she said, "Although they are trained extensively using simulators, additional training is required."

The request filed by PETA to the USDA was based on documents it obtained from University of Michigan through the Freedom of Information Act. The federal inquisition appeal implies that the university's practice is against the Animal Welfare Act, which demands alternatives for procedures that hurt animals.

This act of PETA is subsequent to a similar move in 2009 by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). The group asked the USDA to investigate a University of Michigan course that used shelter dogs in its Advanced Trauma and Life Support courses for surgeons. The university announced a month later that it halted the use of dogs in favor of simulators.


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