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Washington University Stops Using Live Cats in Training Class After Years of PETA Protests

cat-peta.jpg
via PETA
Inside Wash. U.'s PALS course earlier this year.
Washington University is permanently ending its controversial practice of using live cats in a medical training course.

Since 2008, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been pressuring Washington University and St. Louis Children's Hospital to disband what PETA has labeled the "cat lab." Animal-rights activists say the method is cruel and unnecessary. PETA increased pressure last month with an undercover video inside the class -- and in this week's course, Wash. U. officials reportedly told students that they would no longer be using cats as part of the training.

An official with St. Louis Children's Hospital, the university's partner in this course, confirms to Daily RFT today that the pediatric advanced life-support class "does not include live-animal training."

St. Louis Children's Hospital spokeswoman Jackie Ferman tells us in an e-mail, "This is a permanent change to the course."

We've asked her and a spokeswoman from Wash. U. if they want to comment further on the change, and we'll update if we hear more.

See also:
- Washington University: PETA Goes Undercover to Expose the "Cat Lab" (VIDEO)
- Bob Barker Writes to Washington University: I'll Pay You to Stop Abusing Cats
- PETA Attacks Wash. U.'s Use of Live Cats With "False Advertising" Complaint

In the meantime, PETA is celebrating this decision -- after many years of protests and legal complaints.

"This change is long overdue, and we've fought hard to make it happen," Justin Goodman, director of laboratory investigations with PETA, tells Daily RFT. "It was especially egregious that Wash. U. continued to torment animals in this course despite the availability of superior alternatives."

Wash. U.'s "undercover video."

A central argument of PETA and other critics has been that Wash. U. may be the only institution in the country still using live cats for this specific practice. The class in question is called the pediatric advanced life support, or PALS course, which teaches participants about treatment for infants and children with impending respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest. It's a joint class of St. Louis Children's Hospital and Wash. U.'s medical school.

PETA has written in formal complaints that experts agree that using cats is not necessary or preferred and that "simulation mannequins" are a better technique that is not cruel to animals. The American Heart Association, the sponsor of the PALS class, "does not require or endorse the use of live animals in any of its training courses," PETA has noted.

Wash. U.'s course, however, had used both mannequins and live anesthetized cats. (Its website, as of this writing, still describes the class this way.)

wash-u-protest.jpg
Photo by Leah Greenbaum for RFT
Protest at Wash. U. last year.

"We're pleased that Washington University has finally decided to spare cats from painful and crude training drills and is joining the hundreds of other facilities across the country that teach people...[how to] save babies' lives using only sophisticated simulators," Goodman says.

Continue for more on the change at Washington University.



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42 comments
Chris Baumann
Chris Baumann

Yay...this one is for all the cats in the world, no matter who got it done!!!!

Allison Boring
Allison Boring

PETA still is a joke! Yea for Wash U, finally getting it!

Tim Garner
Tim Garner

I think that this is bad because it was giving student physicians the chance to learn how to intubate a child using the cats. The throats are very similar to those of young kids. I'm not sure that you would want your child to be that dr's first! I also don't think you would care that live cats were used in your dr's education if it got to the point that your child needed intubated. Sad day in the med school. I hope they can find a tool that even compares to that of live cats/kids.

adamshriverstl
adamshriverstl

Great news! The fact that most other universities were already using different techniques was pretty convincing to me.  

Joshua Lewis
Joshua Lewis

I used to work around the lab people who test on animals and they were not happy about it but the kinds of things they were testing couldn't be tested any other way and they were also working on finding ways to test without the animals. Believe me, it weighs on them just as much as anyone else and they celebrate any advancement that removes the animal testing from their work. At the end of the day, they want to save lives. They're good people.

Mary McAnally Seger
Mary McAnally Seger

I could understand years ago when they didn't have better techniques and the goal was saving human lives but now with computerized mannequins, etc. it is redundant to still use these barbaric practices.

Kelly Kaufmann
Kelly Kaufmann

Lindsey - our laws say that experimenting on prinsoners considered 'cruel and unusual punishment' if they do not wish to participate. Plus consider if they are in prison wrongfully, which is part of the reason for the law. My mom's brother was a POW and was experimented on, and died shortly after returning home due to unknown reasons. So no, this shouldn't be done to prisoners either. Sure it sucks that it has to be done at all, but unless all these objectors to animal testing actually sign up to be experimented on, we will have to have testing done on animals. It's just the state we're in - yeah it sucks, but give an alternative that isn't forced on individuals.

Lindsey Pandamonium
Lindsey Pandamonium

People in prisons = not smart......I nominate all the child rapists and murderers ;)

Sherondia Elliott
Sherondia Elliott

do you have any idea of what goes on? don't think so the cats or sedated which means they can't feel anything its only done a couple times maybe and the cats are very well taken care of.Don't u think it's better to practice on cats than to attempt to practice on YOUR non breathing child?? think about that

Bryan Berger
Bryan Berger

Yes! I volunteer! Anything to get away from the Cat Protector Brigade. You guys should form a superhero league that saves kittens, that'd be dope!

David J. McCutcheon
David J. McCutcheon

Says the man who can't spell "problem." Let's start on you first, shall we?

Kelly Kaufmann
Kelly Kaufmann

The alternative is often poor people, or not as effective mannequins. All the people who are against animal testing should volunteer to be tested on.

Karen Hall
Karen Hall

so when is peta going to stop killing animals??

Lindsey Pandamonium
Lindsey Pandamonium

Why test on animals when we have prisons FULL of child molesters and murderers.....

Becca Seibert Haase
Becca Seibert Haase

Paramedics and doctors use cats to practice intubation because a cats airway is very similar to an infants. The plastic manikins are just not as good for emulating the experience.

E Andrew Reaves
E Andrew Reaves

I hate cats! the way they meow and piss everywhere, and their shit smells bloody awful!

Rachel Roach
Rachel Roach

Funny, Peta recently admitted to killing cats when they "can't find homes for them". Very odd protest.

Bryan Berger
Bryan Berger

Cats suck & theres way too many. Whats the probm?

Melanie Nelson
Melanie Nelson

Great! Now we can practice on kids. Much better plan.

Jeremy Biermann
Jeremy Biermann

They will be stripped of all assets and forced into prison like Michael Vick I assume? LOL I know they won't but the fact that it took PETA to get them to stop is absurd.

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