The University of South Carolina’s School of Medicine will stop using live pigs in its emergency medicine training after an animal-rights group complained about the practice last month.
The school’s dean emailed is decision Tuesday to the Washington-based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
In late August, that group called for a federal investigation into an emergency medicine residency program run by USC’s Columbia-based medical school and Palmetto Health. It said the program violates the Animal Welfare Act by operating on pigs when alternatives are available.
“We are not planning to seek renewal of the live animal training program at this time,” USC and Palmetto Health said in a joint statement. “Continued advances in simulation technology make it possible for us to make this change at this time. In doing so, we affirm our belief that preparing health-care providers for the preservation of human life is our greatest responsibility and we are confident that this change will not adversely affect the quality of our training programs.”
The Physicians Committee applauded the decision.
“USC’s update to their curriculum demonstrates that they are willing to approach curriculum content objectively and make decisions based on the best scientific, educational and ethical evidence.” John Pippin, director of academic affairs for the group, said in a statement.