To the Editor.
—There is serious doubt as to whether animal laboratories are truly essential to teach physiology and pharmacology in medical schools, despite a recent American Medical Association (AMA) report stating that they are.1 Essential is defined as of the utmost importance, indispensable, or necessary. If basic science animal laboratories were truly essential, one would expect all medical schools to use and require them. However, a 1988 survey revealed a widely disparate pattern of both animal use and alternative substitution in basic science laboratories.2 A recent communication from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) revealed that approximately 25% of medical schools no longer use animal laboratories for medical students (D. E. Kelly, PhD, associate vice president for biomedical research, AAMC, Washington, DC, written commmunication, March 21-22,1991), and it may be that only a small percentage of those US medical schools that do offer animal laboratories continue to
Cohen MJ. Use of Animals in Medical Education. JAMA. 1991;266(24):3421. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470240043014
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