FARGO - A group of medical professionals says NDSU's trauma training program is just one of two in North America still using live pigs as practice subjects.
And the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is urging the University to stop.
NDSU is defending the science behind its program. But that group is hoping ads like this will make a big impression and rally public support to end what it's calling 'substandard' training practices.
For almost 8 years, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has been fueling a Bison-sized debate with NDSU about live animal training subjects.
"It's a common sense way to do science," said Christian Roise, NDSU Student.
Most recently, the DC-based nonprofit sent this letter to President Bresciani opposing the University's use of live pigs in a trauma life support training class with Sanford Health.
PCRM says NDSU is one of just 2 such programs in North America using live animals.
"It's a bit perplexing why NDSU and Sanford Health wouldn't be resistant in elevating their training up to the current standard of practice," said Dr. John Pippin, Director of Academic Affairs, PCRM.
Some on campus see the value of practicing procedures on breathing subjects.
"It's functioning already, so you know how it's going to affect each one of those systems," said Roise.
Kara Smith: "Their lives are meaning a lot more in some ways than if they were to just be butchered and sold as meat," said Kara Smith, NDSU student.
But others are hoping for a more humane option.
"If there are any alternatives, I'd rather not have any animal testing involved because I just feel uncomfortable with that," said Fernanda Badeo of Fargo.
PCRM claims even the Department of Defense switched from live animals to dummy subjects like this "TraumaMan."
A statement from NDSU on the subject says in part, it "reviewed the protocol which falls well within all federal guidelines."
Now billboards and signage at gas stations are popping up around town saying "North Dakota Deserves Better." And PCRM is hoping to garner public support.
"We decided some time a ago that we needed the public's help. We needed to let the public know what's going on and what the alternatives are," said Dr. Pippin.
In a statement, Sanford says "the live animals are used to teach health care providers emergency, life-saving skills."
5 years ago PCRM failed to bring criminal animal cruelty charges against the University. But the group says it won't stop urging NDSU to change its program.