Intimidation is why Johns Hopkins’ live surgery program cancelled

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine announced last week they were ending a surgical training program that used live animals. The Baltimore Sun reveals the four session educational modules were one of two programs in the United States. It utilized anesthetized live animal swine that was said to have been popular among third and fourth semester students.

While Hopkins officials maintained the remaining four-session surgical training course that used anesthetized swine was popular among third and fourth year students, they said it was no longer essential to train “the best doctors in the world.”

“The latest task force to examine the pros and the cons and the ethics decided that the bar has to be pretty high to justify doing this,” said Audrey Huang, a Hopkins spokeswoman. “While students were huge fans of the course it felt like it wasn’t absolutely necessary.”

On prior occasions Johns Hopkins was the subject of an intimidation campaign on the part of the animal rights group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). The Baltimore Sun reported August of 2014 described some of PRCM’s tactics to humiliate and also intimidate Johns Hopkins into giving in:

About two dozen doctors and others held signs outside Johns Hopkins Hospital reading “Baltimore Deserves Better” and “End Animal Labs.”

The news article also points out that PCRM also petitioned the Maryland state prosecutors to bring up the school on animal abuse charges. Fortunately, the Maryland State Attorney out of Baltimore rejected the request.

It is morally wrong to treat animals cruelly. But this effort on the part of the so-called Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is another attempt to deny humans the ability to have excellent surgeons who have hands-on experience. PCRM used intimidation and slander tactics in order to force Johns Hopkins to end their live animal surgery program since they knew they could not defend their position rationally. Admittedly there are alternatives to using live animals for surgical trainings but they may not be as effective. The PCRM’s campaign is not only grounded in their hatred of human life but is also a means to suppress medical knowledge. Consequently, it results in making it easier to kill people off since surgeons would lack hands-on experience. It is not about saving animals from alleged cruelty.

Meantime, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Medicine in Chattanooga is the sole medical school in the U.S. and Canada that uses live animals in its surgical training program. It is not a matter if live animals should be used in medical experiments or training doctors but if we as humans have a right to do it. It is this site owner’s hope contention that we do, the University of Tennessee coninues to use live animals to train surgeons if they deem it appropriate and resists any attempts to intimidate them into halting the prartice.