Physiologists Support Animal Labs
“I polled the students participating in (a recent national physiology) workshop, and to a person, they all wished they could have animal laboratories as part of their program. This same sentiment has been expressed to me again and again by my medical students at my own institution. When I was at Harvard, I led those laboratories for several years, and I must say it was impressive just how much the students understood and retained compared to those who chose not to participate in those laboratories (they had the option). Thus, there is no question that I see enormous educational merit and benefit in live animal laboratory experiences. I wish we had the resources and facilities to reinstitute animal laboratories here at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.”

— Dale Benos, Ph.D.
Professor and Chairman
Department of Physiology and Biophysics
University of Alabama School of Medicine

“I believe the laboratory teaching of animal experiments is very valuable for the education of physicians and surgeons, who can gain precious experience on live subjects (under proper care and treatment including anesthesia, etc.) that will contribute importantly to their medical practice to benefit human health. The laboratory training also provides the foundation to generate new knowledge that can improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases in humans, as well as animals.”

— Shu Chien MD PhD
Professor of Bioengineering and Medicine (Physiology)
University of California, San Diego School of Medicine

“My own belief based on years of experience is that animal experiments provide students with insights and perspectives that are simply not available through simulations or reading. I believe live animal demonstrations are pedagogically superior to any alternative teaching modality.”

— Richard Moss, PhD
Professor & Chair of Physiology
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

“Live animal laboratories have provided medical students with an opportunity to directly observe the physiology, anatomy and response of both internal and external environmental stimuli on a live organism that responds in an identical or very similar fashion to the human. This is an invaluable educational opportunity that too many medical schools (including ours) have abandoned because of perceived external pressures. I am pleased to see that the Medical College of Wisconsin is not going to give in and perhaps help reverse the current trend.”

— James E. Smith, PhD
Professor and Chairman
Physiology and Pharmacology
Wake Forest University School of Medicine

“I am writing to give my support for using live animals for educational purposes in teaching physiology. It makes for a more interactive and integrated approach that is most difficult to do with computers and lectures alone.”

— James T. Stull, PhD
Chairman and Bashour Distinguished Professor
Department of Physiology
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

“I completely agree that there is educational merit in physiology laboratory exercises involving live, anesthetized, animals. About a dozen years ago we were forced to discontinue our “Control of Blood Pressure in the Dog” laboratory for medical students for reasons related to finances, rather than animal rights groups. I believe that since then our students have missed a unique and meaningful learning experience. Since discontinuing that lab, we have an interactive discussion session with the students which includes showing a video we made of the lab, but this is hardly equivalent. Nothing has come to our attention that would be an adequate replacement for the hands-on experience of the live animal lab. Our cardiovascular faculty agrees with me that if we had the resources and personnel, we would include this lab in our physiology course for medical students.”

— O. Douglas Wangensteen,PhD
Professor of Physiology, Pediatrics and Medicine
Interim Head of Physiology
University of Minnesota Medical School

“I can say with some assurance that the direct experience, insight, and learning achievable from an animal-based lab has not yet been replaced entirely by other teaching modalities. We, and others are working to improve the simulators, and think of other approaches for the future. Until then, I am sure that students are missing something important and valuable for their education.”

— Harel Weinstein
Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Physiology and Biophysics
Chairman, Department of Physiology and Biophysics
Weill Medical College of Cornell University

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