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PETA protests UTM Board of Trustees meeting over ‘pig mutilation’

From Left to right: Stacy Hegge, Brian Irwin, Tina Reid (as the crying pig), Wendy Fernandez, Junior Campaigner and Tricia Lebkuecher, Manager of Demo Campaigns

Story by Senior Investigative Reporter Shannon Taylor

The University of Tennessee has not operated on live pigs since 2018 when Robert C. Fore, interim dean for the medical school at UT, said that the college would no longer use live pigs to teach surgical skills to students and instead use simulators of human bodies that can bleed, breathe, blink and have lifelike organs and skin.

Even though this information is available online, PETA protesters went forward with their protest at UTM last Friday.

PETA Manager of campaigns, Tricia Lebkuecher, and other members of PETA led a ‘crying pig’ into the fall board of trustees meeting held in the Duncan Ballroom at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

When the Press spoke with Lebkuecher she stated, “We’re here today because intelligent sensitive pigs are being mutilated and misused for emergency medical training at the University of Tennessee. Archaic training procedures are vastly inferior to human relevant simulation models. Staff, physicians and residents are forced to collapse pigs’ lungs, cut into their arteries and crack open their ribs in misguided attempts to learn human medical procedures.”

Lebkuecher said that PETA wanted to call on UTM to stop their “barbaric maiming of animals” and asked that they instead switch to “more ethical, effective and economical animal free training.”

Lebkuecher’s spoke for about four minutes to the board without a hitch and the board of trustees thanked her for coming and speaking with them and said that Chancellor Buckley was going through a lot of research and review over the matter.