Washington 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 Hospital.
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 infants.
A Real-Life Horror Movie
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 procedure.
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.”
What You Can Do
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.