A non-profit organization based in Rootstown Ohio is criticizing Northeastern Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) for using live animals in what they consider to be "deadly" training exercises.

According to a news release from the non-profit known as the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, billboards have been installed in multiple northeast Ohio communities including Youngstown on I-680 near Glenwood Avenue reading "Ohio: Does your doctor think you're a pig?" 

 

The organization filed a complaint with the United State Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) claiming that NEOMED subjects pigs to over 29 open and laparoscopic procedures to train surgeons.

According to the complaint, these exercises include incisions to remove the gallbladder, drain air, blood or other fluids, remove the kidney, allow for access to the heart and for the insertion of a breathing tube into the wind pipe.

The organization went on to state that under the Animal Welfare Act, researchers and course instructors must consider alternatives to procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress to an animal.

21 News reached out to NEOMED for comment and the university's Vice President for Communications and Chief Marketing Officer, Roderick Ingram Sr. said NEOMED is very limited in its uses of the animals and that when they do use animals, anesthesia is used to minimize pain and distress.

The full statement reads as follows:

"Northeast Ohio Medical University develops programs to help create transformational health professionals and improve health through education, discovery and service. Our students receive basic and clinical science education that combines with leadership training and field experience (clinical rotations) to prepare them as future health professionals who bring positive change to people's lives."

"Such experiences and observances are complemented by their work with cadavers and simulated patients. NEOMED does not use live animal laboratories in our medicine and pharmacy curriculum."

"NEOMED is a regional health care training facility accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC)."

"NEOMED operations are consistent with the National Research Council Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, the Animal Welfare Regulations (AWR) promulgated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Public Health Service (PHS) policy on humane care and use of laboratory animals."

"NEOMED facilitates a very limited number of surgical training training laboratories for a regional hospital's fully accredited residency program that includes this training with their surgeons who will conduct advanced surgical techniques on patients."

"Every animal used in the training receives humane, high-quality care, including the use of anesthesia with ongoing monitoring to prevent pain and distress in surgery."