MORRISTOWN — A medical group is using billboards to criticize a North Jersey hospital's use of live dogs during training.

"At Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey, emergency medicine residents are taught procedural skills using live dogs. Trainees are instructed to make incisions, insert a tube into a dog’s chest cavity, crack open the breastbone in order to access the heart, and insert or drill a needle into the animal’s bones. At the end of each training session, the animals are killed," writes the Physicans Committee for Responsible Medicine on its website.

The group has posted billboards near the Morristown train station, with the message "Don't kill man's best friend for medical testing." It plans to put one up along the New Jersey Turnpike near Exit 13, according to

"This animal use is at odds with current standards of practice" the group said on its website and suggested the use of an Emergency Thoracotomy simulator to teach the procedures.

Simulab’s TraumaMan System provides a "realistic anatomical human-body simulator with lifelike skin, fat, and muscle," according to the group, whose goal is to put "prevention over pills" in the treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer.

Morristown Medical Center spokeswoman Elaine Andrecovich said the use of dogs in training is for "rare, life-saving procedures uncommonly seen" in the emergency room. She said the simulators are comparable but cannot provide "the physiological or anatomical equivalent of live tissue."

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

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