December 13, 2021

For Immediate Release:
December 13, 2021

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Chattanooga, Tenn. PETA is demanding that University of Tennessee Health Science Center Chancellor Steve Schwab cancel a planned December 16 “training” exercise in which live pigs will be mutilated and killed. The exercise is scheduled to take place at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine, in association with a regional emergency medevac company, Erlanger Health System’s Life Force Air Medical. PETA is also asking the chancellor to use only superior, animal-free human simulators going forward.

The procedures on pigs reportedly attempt to teach critical-care procedures for human patients needing transport to medical facilities. Course leaders subject the pigs to numerous invasive procedures, including inducing collapsed lungs, cutting into an artery to induce bleeding, and cracking open the ribs if resuscitating the pigs fails. Inside sources revealed to PETA that at least one pig died this year because of medical error while undergoing a chest tube insertion. The pigs who survive the procedures are killed at the end of the trainings. All these procedures can be practiced on simulators that accurately mimic the human body.

“Smart, sensitive pigs are being mangled and killed for barbaric training exercises that would be better taught using human-relevant simulation models,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is calling on the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine and Erlanger Health System’s Life Force Air Medical to embrace superior, non-animal technology that spares pigs’ lives and allow trainees to practice invasive procedures until they’re confident and adept.”

Studies show that medical skills learned on pigs do not effectively translate to the treatment of human patients, because of significant anatomical and physiological differences between species and that medical professionals who learned lifesaving surgical skills on human simulators are more proficient than those who used animals for their training. Effective, anatomically accurate human simulators and human cadavers are widely available for teaching lifesaving medical skills.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.