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.

stl-childrens-hospital.JPG
via wustl.edu
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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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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