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Letter to Channel 29 News Editors

January 28, 2004

To Channel 29 News Editors:

I am very concerned about the use of the phrase 'dog lab' on tonight's newscast.
It is an extremely flip characterization of a very serious component of the School of Medicine's medical education program.

It serves no purpose for your news organization to treat the subject so lightly. As you may know from talking with Dave Hudson, the University approaches the use of animals in this class with a great deal of care and responsibility, and the use of animals in the class is reviewed on an annual basis.

While I understand that such a headline is a effective teaser for your viewers, I hope you will see fit to correct the name of the course in any subsequent airing of the story. It is not, to our knowledge, referred to by students taking the class in the manner you have reported.

For the record:

The Life Saving Techniques Lab is the proper name of the course, and it is an elective class for third-year medical students at U.Va.

The class is completely optional.

The use of animals in this class is re-evaluated every year through a formal review process by the Animal Care and Use Committee. As part of that process, the use of non-animal models, like computerized simulators, is thoroughly studied to determine if they are a viable option for this class. Again, this review process is conducted annually.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is the federal agency that regulates the care and use of animals for research and teaching.

Carol Wood
Interim Assistant Vice President for University Relations,
University of Virginia

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