PCRM’s Latest Pigheaded Victory Causes Problems

Animal rights groups are well-known for deploring the use of pigs to … well, to do just about anything. But thanks to a recent campaign from the notorious "Physicians Committee" for "Responsible" Medicine (PCRM, a group that is neither), a trauma training program at Canada's McMaster University is less effective than it used to be:

A McMaster-based trauma-training program that had used pigs as subjects for teaching emergency medical procedures has reluctantly switched to mannequins after pressure from an animal-rights group.

But three months after completing the changeover, the nurse who runs the local program developed by the American College of Surgeons said most physicians feel they aren’t learning as much from the sophisticated simulator mannequins.

“We don’t like it, and the students are complaining,” said Donna Allerton, a Hamilton critical care nurse who has been running the Advanced Trauma Life Support course locally for 22 years. “I would love to go back to the pigs. If I could, I would definitely go back to the pigs.”

But of course we can't go back to the pigs because, as PCRM's John Pippin (last seen at a Texas pet-store protest) declared, "There is no reason to use animals for this because the world has moved past this."

Catch Pippin's circular logic?

This should sound familiar to our regular readers. Last year, protesters from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) descended on Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton to protest the military's use of pigs in trauma training. The procedure had become standard on most military bases as a way to prepare corpsmen for the grisly nature of battlefield medical duty.

Our Executive Director said at the time: "Many corpsmen will face a time when he or she will have to pack a gunshot wound, stop a bleeding artery, or cut into a fellow soldier to restore a breathing airway. It is during the first attempts at such procedures that most mistakes are made. I'd rather see it happen on a pig than on one of our military men or women."

PCRM's involvement in this is no coincidence. The group is essentially PETA in a lab coat. PCRM President Neal Barnard was even the President of the PETA Foundation at one time — a group that moved money between PETA and other animal rights groups.

The next time a university considers taking PCRM the least bit seriously, its leaders should consult the American Medical Association, a far more credible doctors group, which once called PCRM a "fringe organization" that is "interested in perverting medical science."

And then, by all means, keep on using the pigs.

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