Washington D.C. Group Protests NDSU, Sanford Health’s ATLS Program

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Held at Protest Against the Use of Animals for NDSU and Sanford's ATLS Program

FARGO, N.D. — A Washington D.C. group is at NDSU, protesting the university’s Advanced Trauma Life Support training program.

The group says the university is promoting cruelty to animals by using live pigs for their testing when other options are available.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and supporters stood in solidarity on 12th Avenue North and University Drive, holding signs to raise awareness of the cruelty of animal testing.

“We’re protesting North Dakota State University and Sanford who continue to use pigs to teach people how to do certain procedures for advanced trauma life support,” said Matthew Clayton, who is with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

NDSU uses pigs to train future health professionals for trauma surgery.

Trainees eventually kill the pig while performing surgical procedures.

But the Physicians Committee said this type of training is unnecessary on live animals.

“There’s no legitimate need to continue to test on live animals when the same results can be achieved by using basically an artificial object that is lifelike and usable in training,” said Jack Fay, who participated in the protest.

The following statement was released by NDSU:

NDSU remains committed to provide for the health and well-being of animals in our care, as well as committed to our mission as a teaching institution. Appropriate protocols and federal guidelines are followed in the training that is conducted by Sanford or other medical organizations in this setting. NDSU’s Animal Care and Use Committee reviewed the protocol for the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) lab, which included the consideration of alternatives to animal use, and determined practices fall well within all federal guidelines. The committee continuously monitors the activities associated with the ATLS lab as part of our commitment to compliance with federal guidelines.

But the protesters are taking it one step further.

The Physicians Committee said they would even pay for the cost of the artificial simulator if they were to use it in next week’s lab.

TraumaMan is a realistic human simulator with lifelike skin, fat and muscle.

The committee said TraumaMan is used by many other ATLS programs and can be used in place of animal testing.

“We have a large world. We have many causes but that doesn’t mean we’re mutually exclusive,” said Fay. “When there’s not a legitimate reason to take a life, you don’t take it.”

Sanford Health in Fargo, who partners with NDSU on ATLS training released a statement saying they continue the animal testing because of the positive response from healthcare workers.

“What we’re hoping is to raise awareness and hopefully get some community people to put a little pressure on North Dakota State and get with the times and modernize their training,” added Clayton.

As for the committee’s offer of paying for the simulated ATLS training, they said NDSU did not respond.

The Physician’s Committee has put out attack ads on the ATLS training program aimed at NDSU and Sanford in 2011 and 2016.

Each time, NDSU and Sanford released the same statements as they did today.

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