E-Mails Reveal Student Concern, Staff Skepticism About Pig Mutilation Training for Doctors

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After PETA exposed Oregon Health & Science University’s use of live pigs in its obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) physician residency training program, thousands of PETA supporters took action by urging the school to immediately end the pig mutilation drills.

And your work is paying off.

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PETA has uncovered internal e-mails revealing that university insiders are feeling the heat and raising concerns about the use of pigs. One person affiliated with the program’s leadership is sweating the flood of e-mails from PETA supporters and voiced general skepticism about the use of live pigs:

“Let’s set up a meeting to discuss utility of the pig labs. Frankly, I am tired of these e-mails. I think it would be useful to get resident feedback—I met with chiefs last night and most of them do NOT find the pig lab to be useful …  it may be good to discuss alternatives.”

—An unnamed Oregon Health & Science University official [name redacted]

The chair of the university’s OB/GYN department, Dr. Aaron Caughey, also expressed “mixed feelings toward the [live pig] labs.”

And it’s not just leadership at the school. At least one physician resident voiced an unwillingness to slice open live animals to complete their training, succinctly writing, “I do not want to participate in the live porcine portion.”

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The internal e-mails also reveal that the university’s OB/GYN department wants to assess the prevalence of the use of live animals in other U.S. training programs.

It’s good that PETA has already done this for them.

We conducted a national survey of accredited OB/GYN residency programs and discovered that more than 100 of them don’t use live animals in training. Rather, these programs train future doctors for success by using superior, animal-free technology.

Furthermore, OB/GYN residency programs at Aurora Sinai Medical Center, Rush University Medical Center, and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center ended their use of live pigs in favor of animal-free simulation technology after hearing from PETA. After talks with us, Henry Ford Hospital even published a new public policy on its webpage stating, “The OB/GYN residency program at Henry Ford Hospital does not use animals for training purposes, and instead uses advanced human patient simulators and other non-animal methods.” Similarly, the U.S. Department of Defense banned the use of live animals in its OB/GYN physician residency training.

Next Steps

According to the documents obtained by PETA, the e-mails from staff and students were sent in spring 2023. Yet the university continues to drag its feet—and its reputation through the mud.

PETA is sending a letter to the director of the university’s OB/GYN residency program urging him to adopt a policy officially prohibiting the use of live animals in favor of any of the animal-free, human-relevant options that are widely available.

No more internal debate is needed. Oregon Health & Science University will continue to stick out like a sore thumb in the medical community if it doesn’t adopt modern, non-animal training methods.

What You Can Do

Please TAKE ACTION by urging Oregon Health & Science University leadership to ban the use of live animals in its OB/GYN physician residency training program:

Help Pigs at Oregon Health & Science University

PETA Supporters Urge OHSU Board of Directors to End Pig Mutilations

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