Written by Jeff Mackey
University in St. Louis (WUSTL) is the last facility in the country that still abuses cats for
Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) training, in defiance of modern science
and ethics. Now PETA has obtained alarming undercover video footage of cats
being subjected to these cruel
training exercises in a recent WUSTL PALS course conducted in conjunction with St. Louis Children's
Despite the availability of superior, lifelike simulators, which are used instead of animals at all of the more than 1,000 other PALS
training facilities in the U.S., WUSTL continues to lock nine cats in its laboratories.
Several times a year, trainees repeatedly force hard plastic tubes down the
animals' delicate windpipes in a crude attempt to learn to intubate human
The video shows unskilled trainees struggling for several
minutes to intubate two helpless cats named Elliott and Jessie, botching the
attempts to shove tubes down their windpipes and mishandling metal instruments
in ways that could break the cats' teeth. As several participants in the video
note, the inadequately anesthetized cats even begin to wake up during the
A WUSTL veterinarian is seen discussing how each cat is
subjected to as many as 15 intubations each session, even though studies show
that intubating animals more than five times per session can cause pain and
trauma. The veterinarian and course leader also admit that some cats' windpipes
are injured during the exercise, which can cause potentially fatal bleeding,
swelling, scarring, and collapsed lungs.
Each of the cats held captive at WUSTL is subjected to this miserable procedure
up to four times a year.
Even the American Heart Association (AHA), which created the
curriculum and sponsors the PALS course, confirmed to PETA last month, "We do
not endorse or require the use of animals during the AHA-PALS training because
of advances and availability of simulation mannequins."
Please urge officials at WUSTL and St. Louis Children's
Hospital to stop causing cats to suffer for intubation training and to use
effective, non-animal training methods instead.
We're delighted to report PETA's latest victory for animals used for experimentation—and this time, our "happy dance" is a Charleston, in honor of the hometown of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Following a vigorous PETA campaign, MUSC has confirmed that the school has not used any pigs for crude trauma training exercises in more than a year and that it has no future plans to do so.
After learning that participants in cruel, archaic training exercises were cutting holes into the throats and chests of live pigs—even though the university used superior state-of-the-art simulators to teach the same skills in other courses—PETA embarked on a three-year campaign to urge MUSC to modernize its curriculum.
Thanks are due not only to MUSC but also to everyone who supported PETA's efforts, which included protests near campus; involvement from local law students; an online campaign in which tens of thousands of people contacted the school via e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter; and complaints to authorities that prompted citations for violations of federal animal welfare law.
What You Can Do
Pigs in South Carolina can rest a bit easier now, but a few schools still torture and kill animals instead of using modern and superior non-animal training methods. Please urge the University of Michigan to follow MUSC's smart and compassionate example by ending the use of animals for its trauma training courses in favor of the simulators that it already owns.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.