Animal cruelty at Hopkins

February 25, 2011

As the physicians quoted in your article on the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine's use of animals for surgical training, we were disappointed that the school's only response was from a spokesperson, and that neither the dean nor the chair of the surgery department provided comment ("Johns Hopkins under fire for using animals in doctor training," Feb. 24).

We requested that Baltimore City State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein look into whether Hopkins' use of animals violates Maryland's animal cruelty laws. Mr. Bernstein's decision to retry the Johnson brothers for their alleged role in killing a 2-year-old dog by dousing her with lighter fluid and setting her on fire is to be applauded. While we are not stating that the two situations are equivalent, we do believe acts of cruelty are being perpetuated by our alma mater several times each year.

Johns Hopkins is one of the last schools in the country that still uses animals in medical training. It's time to move on to better methods based on the availability of human simulation models and other technologies. We hope Mr. Bernstein will be as committed to addressing the issue of animal cruelty at the Johns Hopkins Medical School as he has been to pursuing a re-trial of the Johnson brothers.

Dr. Barbara Wasserman and Dr. Martin P. Wasserman

The writers are 1968 graduates of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

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