“Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine announced Wednesday that it has abandoned the use of live pigs to train students, joining all but one other U.S. medical school in forgoing a practice that’s long been criticized by animal rights activists who consider it unnecessary in the age of computer simulation.” -Baltimore Sun, Wednesday May 18, 2016 (click Here for a link to the article)
Recently, the Baltimore Sun reported that Johns Hopkins Medical School would discontinue its use of live animals in surgical training. This news not only struck a chord with me as an advocate for animal rights, but also as a legislator, who has taken on this very issue in the General Assembly. Although, as a medical school, there are few in our country that measure up to the excellent training provided by Johns Hopkins, in this one area, they have lagged behind.
As of this year, they were one of only two schools in the entire country which were continuing to use live animals (specifically pigs) in this way. Every other institution opting, instead, to switch to more sophisticated simulators in their training. In the past two legislative sessions, I proposed bills to help end this practice at Hopkins. Although, these bills did not pass, they proved successful in bringing this issue to public attention, and applying the necessary pressure to affect the change.
While advocating for these bills this past session, I was strongly encouraged by many constituents who wrote to my office in support of this legislation. I would like to thank them now, as well as Senator Currie who cross filed this bill in the Senate, and organizations such as the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the Humane Society, the ASPCA, and Maryland Votes for Animals. It was our combined efforts that helped end this practice. I am also grateful to Johns Hopkins for taking this opportunity to update an antiquated method of training in favor of a more modern, and humane technique. Johns Hopkins remains the best medical school in the world, and now it will be even better.