The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is urging the University of Washington (UW) to stop live animal use in its paramedic training program. The group demonstrated outside the medical center where trainees practice cutting open love pigs.

PCRM has shared data on practicing on human simulators and has filed a complaint with the USDA. All paramedic training programs west of the Missippi don’t use live animals in programs, except for UW.

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“I learned everything I know from simulators and on-the-job training,” said retired paramedic Cindy Coker, who worked in emergency medical services for 39 years and served as Chairperson of Snohomish County EMS in a release by PCRM. “There is no need to train paramedics on animals.”

Currently, UW’s training involves using pigs to teach cricothyroidotomy or surgical airway. An incision is made on the animal’s neck and a breathing tube is inserted. Each pig receives the procedure up to six times.

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