4 May 2017

College to stop using live animals for training

Ethics Technology

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons has agreed to phase out the use of live animals in its trauma training programs by 2018.

Live animals, such as dogs and pigs, are currently used in the college’s Early Management of Severe Trauma program, which trains physicians and Australian Defence Force medical officers in the treatment of traumatic injuries.

The college will replace the use of animals with advanced human simulation technology.

The decision follows pressure from a four-year campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Humane Research Australia, which included a petition of more 100,000 signatures and a public offer to purchase a “TraumaMan” simulator for the college to use.

“Modern simulators will allow surgeons to practise procedural skills on models designed to replicate human anatomy and physiology,” HRA spokesperson Robyn Kirby said.

“This is great news, not only for animals, but also humans who will benefit from the advanced, human-relevant technology.”

Proponents of the TraumaMan say surgeons who train on the simulators become more proficient because the systems more accurately mimic human anatomy than live animals.

Australian law currently requires the use of non-animal training methods whenever available.

Since 2012, PETA has donated more than 100 TraumaMan simulators, valued at close to $3 million, to replace animal use in surgery training programs in more than 16 countries.