public opinion

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A survey to understand public opinion regarding animal use in medical training

Ryan Merkley, John J. Pippin and Ari R. Joffe

A random survey was performed by ORC International Telephone CARAVAN®, on 24–27 March 2016, by trained interviewers. The aim of this survey was to gain further understanding of public perceptions in the United States of laboratory animal use, specifically for the purposes of medical training. Five statements were read in random order to the participants, who were then asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement. Survey responses were obtained from 1011 participants. For the combined statements: “If effective non-animal methods are available to train a) medical students and physicians, b) emergency physicians and paramedics, and c) paediatricians, those methods should be used instead of live animals”, most respondents (82–83%) agreed. For the statement: “You want your doctor to be trained by using methods that replicate human anatomy instead of live animals”, most respondents (84%) agreed. For the statement: “If effective non-animal methods are available, it is morally wrong or unethical to use live animals to train medical students, physicians and paramedics”, 67% of respondents agreed. Responses were similar among the 15 pre-specified demographic subgroups. Given that effective non-animal training methods are readily available, the survey suggests that a substantial majority of the public wants the use of animals in medical training to cease.

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