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Comic Strip Creator Opposes Cruel Cat Labs

Written by PETA | July 13, 2009

Animals—from horses to birds as well as those killed for their fur, skin, and flesh—have a friend in Dan Piraro, creator of the wonderfully offbeat internationally syndicated cartoon Bizarro.

Now Dan has stepped up for cats used in excruciating (and scientifically inferior) pediatric intubation training at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Trainees who are enrolled in the Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) course at the facility repeatedly force plastic tubes down cats’ windpipes. This painful procedure often causes bleeding and swelling in the tissues of the cats’ throats and can also lead to scarring, collapsed lungs, and even death! Manikins and advanced simulators have proved superior to the use of animals for intubation training, and the sponsor of the PALS course, the American Heart Association (AHA), exclusively recommends the use of these humane methods—not animals—for this training. The AHA has also distanced itself from the few facilities such as St. Louis Children’s Hospital that continue to use animals in PALS.

Dan, a former student at Washington University in St. Louis (which offers the PALS course in conjunction with St. Louis Children’s Hospital), has fired off a letter to the editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, writing, “It doesn’t take a medical degree to recognize that practicing intubation on a limp cat is nothing like doing the same procedure on a larger, crying, squirming and/or coughing human child.” And to make that point even clearer, he included this cartoon:


10% Wool
Click for a larger version


Definitely worth a thousand words! But you don’t have to be an artist to tell St. Louis Children’s Hospital that “first, do no harm” should include our feline friends—all you have to do is click here.

Written by Jeff Mackey

Commenting is closed.
  • Jenny Danforth says:

    Intubating cats is not painful or cruel. The ET tube is not forced down the windpipeit slides in very easily. The cats are given anesthetics and the course is run by veterinarians and veterinary technicians who do this everyday. You cannot tell which cat was intubated the next day. Intubation is a common technique. If it was cruel there would be no need to train medical staff to do it.

  • Claudia says:

    Dan Piraro you rock! I have been an advocate to stop the intubation at Children’s Hospital and have not had much luck reaching the staffdoctor responsible for this cruel procedure. I hope your cartoon will stir things up on behalf of defensless animals. The number of negative blogs I received with the letter I sent in the past to the Post Dispatch editor was amazing and disturbing. We need more of you out there fighting the fight for the ethical treatment of animals and supporting PETA in every way possible! Thank you! Claudia

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Lol Carla. I know the feeling. I used to be plain old Mike but multiple Mikes and Carlas make for mass confusion!

  • Carla* says:

    Hi Mike!! Again thanks for posting that site!! There’s a couple of Carla’s now posting as well so now I’ll have mine with a star behind. All the best to ya!!

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    The Vegetarian Society of Hawaii has some excellent and lengthy animalfriendly videos at the link below. Dan Piraro stars in a couple of them his verbal wit being every bit equal to his spoton cartoons. httpwww.vsh.orgvideos.htm Hey Carla Thanks for your kind words from before. I love reading the PETA Files but time constraints have really gotten in the way lately. I’ll try not to be too much of a stranger in the future lol.

  • AAG says:

    This just too painful to read. Poor cats and kittens still being used in antiquated cruel experiments and tossed aside like flotsam. Piraro is wonderfulagain!

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    I would think the best way to learn to intubate chldren and infants would be to actually intubate children and infants about to go into surgery. That is how the veterinary students in my class learned…they intubated the actual animals about to have surgery with the assistance of the veterinarian of course. But then again I have heard that the entire course of veterinary training takes longer than the training of a doctor for humans.

  • Canaduck says:

    I looooooooooooooove Bizarro!