Physicians protest use of animals at UA College of Medicine

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The words ‘modernize medical training’ and ‘end animal use’ were displayed boldly on the edge of the University of Arizona’s campus on Thursday.

“I feel that we have an obligation to speak up for the animals,” said protester, Brittany Michelson.

Michelson is standing up for pigs. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the animals are being used for practice procedures by surgery residents at the UA College of Medicine in Tucson.

“Instead of using live animals, specifically pigs, like they do now, for training purposes, we’re hoping to convince them to switch over to modern human relevant simulators and virtual reality sets,” said Retired Emergency Medicine Physician, Dr. Kerry Foley.

Foley flew across the country to attend the event. She hoped to make a difference at, what she said is, one of the few medical programs in the United States that still practices on animals.

“We’ve done surveys that have shown that 76% of the surgical residency programs in the United States have already switched over,” said Foley.

The UArizona College of Medicine responded to KGUN’s request for more information. A representative for the university said, “The research we conduct is vital to advancing science and health care practices that ultimately save and improve lives.”

The physicians committee is spreading their message beyond Thursday’s protest. Five new billboards near campus will continue to raise awareness.

“We’re hoping anybody who knows about this issue will let the College of Medicine know that there are far superior methods to use,” said Retired Psychologist, Dr. Anne B Stericker.

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