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

Wash. U. faced further pressure last month when Bob Barker of The Price Is Right fame slammed the school for using cats and even offered to donate tens of thousands of dollars to pay for simulator alternatives. PETA has filed numerous complaints including with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and most recently with the Missouri Attorney General's Office.

peta shot 2.jpg
via PETA video.

Through its undercover work, PETA has argued that it's painful for the cats to have tubes shoved down their throats -- and that they sometimes even wake up during the procedure.

Wash. U., however, has repeatedly stood by its practice saying that it is very safe for the cats, that none have ever been injured or killed, and that it's an important training tool for its students. The cats, the school has said, are also used for a limited time only and are all eventually adopted.

Goodman says he first got wind of this change when some students who were taking the class this week told protesters from a group called the Alliance for Medical Progress outside Wash. U. that the class no longer involved cats.

St. Louis Children's Hospital.

This week's class is the first PALS course Wash. U. has offered since PETA released its undercover video.

"We hope the cats...will all be adopted into loving homes immediately," Goodman adds.

PETA first learned of the practice in 2007 and began its protests against the school in 2008.

"We are happy about this decision," Goodman says, "but wish it didn't take five years of PETA campaigning for them to do the right thing."

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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