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Tell North Dakota State University to stop using live pigs in trauma training

Tell North Dakota State University to stop using live pigs in trauma training

Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) courses are designed to teach physicians how to assess, resuscitate and stabilize trauma patients. Though the use of live animals was once commonplace in ATLS courses, the use of cadavers and sophisticated simulators—methods which are supported by the American College of Surgeons—has now significantly reduced animal use in this area.

Unfortunately, not all ATLS courses have abandoned the practice of using live animal models for training. In fact, North Dakota State University used pigs for ATLS training as recently as January of this year. Not only is this use of animals unnecessary, considering the availability of non-animal methods, the obvious anatomical differences between animals and humans may mislead physicians and potentially put their future patients at risk.

Call to action:

  1. Please contact the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee to demand the consideration of animal-free alternatives for ATLS courses.
  2. Spread the word! Share this page with your social network.



  • IACUC Committee


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Use of animals in Advanced Trauma Life Support courses at NDSU

Dear [Decision Maker],

It has been brought to my attention that North Dakota State University continues to rely on live pigs for Advanced Trauma Life Support courses, despite the fact that humane and human-relevant animal-free alternatives exist and are already in use by all but four of the ATLS programs in the U.S. and Canada.

One key responsibility of a university's IACUC committee is to require consideration of alternatives to the use of animals in teaching and research. Considering that simulators, like the TraumaMan System, have been evaluated and approved by the American College of Surgeons in 2001 as alternatives to live non-human models, and that cadavers can be used in ATLS training courses, there is no justification for the continued use of live animals for this purpose. Please consider the replacement of live animals for this course immediately.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]