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  • Writer's pictureGina Scrofano

Royal Australasian College To Phase Out Use of Live Animals In Trauma Testing

Royal Australasian College of Surgeons has announced that they have a plan to phase out the use of live animals for trauma testing by 2018.

The College has been under fire for years for using live animals, such as pigs, sheep, and dogs to perform surgical training in their Early Management of Severe Trauma (EMST) course.

According to David Watters, President of Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the use of live animals is beneficial as it better replicates emergency situations when there are a beating heart and blood loss.

The College claims the animals are anesthetized and do not feel pain during the procedures, which involve cutting holes into the animals chest, throat, abdomen, and legs to practice certain surgical techniques. Claims were also made that after the testing is complete, the animals would be humanely euthanized.

However, many believe there is nothing humane about these acts of cruelty, and this outdated science is completely unnecessary.

Surgeon Jill Tomlinson, who was pressured into taking the course in 2004, said there were major differences between the anatomy of a human and a greyhound and that it did not contribute to her training.

Technology has also come a long way, such as with TraumaMan, a human simulator with realistic layers of skin, internal organs, and bones. TraumaMan also simulates breathing and bleeding, is less expensive and more efficient, as it is reusable and more accurately replicates humans than non-human animals.

When the word spread of the College's use of live animals, they received major public pressure from those in opposition. A petition against the practice received over 100,000 signatures, and the college's Facebook page received numerous negative reviews.

Not only did opposition come from the general public and animal activists, but several phone calls were received from surgeons and senior nurses practicing in major hospitals stating that they disagree with the training.

Thanks to those efforts, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, which has already discontinued the use of dogs, plans to stop the use of all live animals in their EMST training by 2018, which certainly can not come fast enough for the animals that end up next in line for the surgical trainees taking the course.

Interview with Nick McCallum and Dr. Tomlinson regarding the unnecessary and inhumane use of live animals in Royal Australasian College of Surgeons's trauma training course. Video/Audio Credit: 3AW


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