Penn State reconsiders use of live pigs for medical training

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center is examining alternatives to using live pigs to help emergency medicine physicians hone their skills amid criticism, Penn Live reports.

Four things to know:

1. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine issued a complaint against Penn State Health for its use of live pigs, claiming the practice represents a "substandard" method of training for physicians. The organization claims the medical center is one of 16 institutions in the U.S. and Canada that continue to use live pigs for training out of the 265 programs across both nations.  

2. The organization also reportedly wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, claiming the hospital is violating the Animal Welfare Act by continuing the practice, the report states.

3. A hospital spokesperson told Penn Live the group "raise[s] a fair question" and that CEO Craig Hillemeier, MD, has directed hospital leadership to review alternative training methods.

4. The spokesperson added that the hospital's training using pigs takes place once per year. During the most recent training in July 2018, only eight pigs were used. The animals are anesthetized during the training and euthanized afterward, the report states.

To access the full report, click here.

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