Group celebrates end to animal use in Chattanooga emergency medical training

A nonprofit physicians group that advocates for alternatives to animal research is touting a victory in its efforts to modernize graduate medical education at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, "applauds UTCOM Chattanooga for making the switch to human-relevant training methods for its emergency medicine residents," according to a Friday statement from the organization.

For years, the group has campaigned across the country, including through social media and billboard advertising in Chattanooga, against medical students using live animals to hone their skills, calling the practice "both substandard and extremely inhumane" and citing availability of human simulators.

Although animal use in four-year medical schools ended in 2016, some doctors-in-training still encounter animals in their residency programs, such as Chattanooga's surgery residency.

The controversial training involves cutting into live pigs after they are put to sleep, and the surviving animals are killed after the session.