I am excited to share good news with you today. The Physicians Committee just learned that Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis—which has one of the most highly regarded emergency medicine residency programs in the United States—has ended live animal use! It took years of persistence, but we got there. We would like to thank YOU for making this victory possible.
In April 2016, after first attempting to communicate privately, we launched our public campaign against Hennepin, which was using up to 300 sheep and rabbits per year to teach procedures to its emergency medicine residents. Up to 20 procedures were practiced on the sheep alone, including splitting open their breastbones to access the heart and drilling holes into their skulls. If the animals managed to survive the invasive procedures, they were killed following the training session.
We filed a federal complaint, held public demonstrations, and erected billboards in downtown Minneapolis. Most recently, in July 2018, we held a protest at Hennepin while Dr. Kerry Foley presented comments to the medical center’s Board of Directors and delivered more than 72,000 petitions from Physicians Committee supporters! At the same time, five mobile billboards circled the medical center’s campus and downtown Minneapolis for the day, urging Hennepin’s leaders to end animal use. Your support made this possible!
And with that ongoing pressure, we finally brought about change. Hennepin’s board of directors initiated an internal review of animal use that concluded this month. The medical center now joins the 94 percent (252 of 267) of surveyed emergency medicine residencies in the United States and Canada that exclusively use human-relevant training methods.
We congratulate Hennepin Healthcare for making the decision to utilize superior nonanimal methods for training its emergency medicine residents. While we celebrate this achievement, we’re reminded that there is still work to be done.