Maryland Bill Will End Animal Use in Medical Education

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Says House Bill 289 Will Modernize Training at Maryland Medical Schools

Feb 10, 2016, 12:14 ET from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Thursday at 1 p.m., the Maryland House of Delegates will hold a hearing on House Bill 289, which would end animal use in medical education and training. Johns Hopkins University is the only school in the state—and one of two in the United States and Canada—that uses animals for medical education. The bill specifies that if nonanimal methods are being used to achieve the same educational goal by at least one other medical school in the state, no other medical school may use an animal for that purpose.

"My alma mater, Johns Hopkins, has always been a leader in medical training, with the exception of this single area—introductory surgical instruction," says former Maryland state secretary of health and mental hygiene Martin Wasserman, M.D., J.D., F.A.A.P, who will testify at the hearing.

At Johns Hopkins, medical students make incisions in a pig's abdomen and insert long tubes with cameras called endoscopes into the pig's body. This causes severe injuries, and the pigs are killed after the procedure. Johns Hopkins already owns the human-based devices needed to replace the use of animals.

"Using live pigs to teach medical students about how the human body works is unnecessary and outdated. Surgical skills can be taught using modern simulators which are currently used at 99 percent of medical schools in the U.S. and Canada," says Baltimore resident Richard Bruno, M.D., in his written testimony.

Violators of the act will incur a penalty of up to $1,000 for each animal used. The effective date for the bill is Oct. 1, 2016. Delegate Shane Robinson of District 39, Montgomery County, introduced the bill in the 2015 session and will present the bill at the hearing in the Maryland House of Delegates House Office Bldg., Room 240, 6 Bladen Street in Annapolis, Md. 

H.B. 289 has 18 original co-sponsors. Twenty-six Maryland physicians have signed a letter in support of the bill.

For an interview with a physician or Del. Robinson or a copy of the physician letter or written testimony, contact Reina Podell at 202-527-7326 or

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee is a nonprofit organization that encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.

Contact: Reina Podell, 202-527-7326 (office) or 


SOURCE Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine