Ohio State University, like a number of other institutions, offers a three week Spinal Cord Injury Training Course to familiarize students and professionals with the methods and techniques used in spinal cord research. Since much spinal cord research is animal research, the course includes instruction on techniques to injure the spinal cords of mice and rats.
Not surprisingly, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine wants the courses shut down. In a press release urging activist to contact the university, PCRM said,
Ohio State University is offering what may be the most inhumane course ever taught: A class in injuring the spinal cords of rats and mice.
Participants in OSUÂ’s Spinal Cord Injury Training Course will be taught how to systematically injure the animalsÂ’ spinal cords by major surgery and blunt trauma. OSU rationalizes the course by claiming that more standardized techniques are needed among spinal cord researchers. The three-week course will subject 189 rats and 60 mice to multiple painful surgeries, laboratory procedures, and distressing behavioral exercises after the injuries.
The course is going forward even though nonanimal research on spinal cord injuries is yielding exciting results. For example, relevant data are being obtained through tests on human neural cell lines in culture, impact studies using human cadavers, clinical observations and trials, and other techniques that do not require the use of animals.
Of course PCRM leaves out any mention of the ground breaking work on spinal cord injuries currently taking place in animals (in fact many of the advances that PCRM refers to were possible thanks largely to the sort of basic research with animals that PCRM opposes here).
Action Alert: Help Stop Inhumane Spinal Cord Classes at OSU. Press Release, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, June 11, 2004.
Experimental spinal cord injury (SCI) course. Press Release, Ohio State University, March 15, 2004.
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