Quebec City- Laval University is the last in Canada still using animals; Physician-Led Demonstration on Oct.1 will urge the University to switch to simulation. Laval University should stop using live animals to train future pediatricians and instead use human-relevant methods, says a national nonprofit of 10,000 concerned physicians. Doctors with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine will join Quebec City-area residents on Wednesday, Oct. 1, for a demonstration at the university. Protestors will carry signs and banners reading “End Animal Use” and “Switch to Simulation.” More than 540 Quebec residents have signed a petition asking the school to end its use of animals, and more than 28,000 people have sent e-mails to the university’s rector calling for the school to use exclusively high-tech simulators and other nonanimal training methods.
“Laval University is the very last pediatrics residency in the country still using animals to teach these procedures,” says Canadian physician Zahra Kassam, M.D. “At this point in time, almost all pediatrics programs in Canada and the United States have replaced animal labs with modern simulators which are greatly superior for learning emergency medical skills.”
Laval University has the only pediatrics program in Canada—and one of only three out of 213 surveyed programs in the United States and Canada—still using animals. During the training, Laval pediatrics residents insert tubes into month-old piglets’ chest cavities, cut open their veins, and insert a needle into the sac surrounding the animals’ hearts. The piglets are then killed.
Ninety-eight percent of pediatrics programs in Canada and the United States—including all other programs in Canada—now reject this inferior practice in favor of human-relevant methods.
The demonstration is just one part of the Physicians Committee’s broader effort to encourage the school to adopt more effective training practices, such as high-tech infant simulators SimBaby and TraumaChild. In March, advertisements were posted throughout the campus urging a switch to simulation. The Physicians Committee has also submitted two formal complaints against the university: one with the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) and another with the province of Quebec stating that Laval University’s use of animals is a violation of animal cruelty laws.
WHO: Doctors with the Physicians Committee and members of the public
WHAT: A demonstration urging Laval University School of Medicine to end the use of live pigs in pediatrics residency training
WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 11:45 a.m.
WHERE: The intersection of Ave du Séminaire and Rue de l’Université