New York Medical College May Stop Cutting Apart Live Dogs in Lab Work

New York Medical College in Valhalla is deciding whether to stop using live dogs for first year medical students learning about the parts of the body.

New York Medical College is the only medical school in New York state whose first-year students still cut apart live dogs as part of their course work.

But since July, the college's Education and Curriculum Committee has been reviewing the use of animals. The Journal News says the dean of the School of Medicine is to make a decision on whether to continue the practice within two to three weeks.

About 90 percent of medical schools in the United States have given up all animal use in standard courses, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. New York Medical College is now one of only eight American schools that continue to teach physiology courses this way.

The college - which evaluated the usefulness of the dog labs last year and before that in 2004 - has maintained that the experience helps turn out qualified doctors.

But other medical schools use patient simulators instead. And even at New York Medical College, students can choose not to participate in the labs. The patient simulators cost up to $200,000.

But some say keeping live animals for a lab is just as expensive.