Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Ends Use of Cats in Medical Course After PETA Appeal

Victory: After Group Cites Evidence That Hundreds of Live Cats Were Used in Cruel Airway-Exam Trainings, Hospital Pulls the Plug on 20-Year Practice

For Immediate Release:
February 13, 2019

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


After PETA urged the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) to stop using live animals for training exercises in its annual Pediatric Flexible Bronchoscopy Postgraduate Course—which has used hundreds of cats over approximately 20 years—the hospital wrote to PETA earlier this week, stating that instructors teaching this course “will no longer use animals.”

The landmark move by the hospital—which was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the nation’s second-best children’s hospital—comes less than three weeks after PETA fired off a complaint to CCHMC based on information from a whistleblower that the hospital was using cats to teach human bronchoscopy and intubation techniques, which involved physicians inserting bronchoscope cables into cats’ mouths and down into their larynges, their tracheas, and the mainstem bronchi of their lungs. PETA also noted that, according to the eyewitness, a cat named Biscuit who was used in this training died last year after suffering an apparent anesthesia-induced stroke-like event that impaired blood flow to the brain, leading to destruction of brain tissue.

Dr. Robert E. Wood has reportedly conducted this course using 10 to 15 cats each year at CCHMC since approximately 1999 and at various other facilities since 1981. Since the course’s inception, more than 2,200 physicians from more than 80 countries have each paid thousands of dollars to attend and have apparently used more than 370 cats in total for this training.

“Cincinnati Children’s Hospital did the right thing in shutting down its decades-old cat laboratory, which will prevent gentle cats from having tubes shoved down their sensitive throats in painful, life-threatening procedures,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “This is a victory for the physicians who will receive superior human-simulation training, the patients who will benefit from doctors’ improved lifesaving skills, and the animals who won’t be used in these harmful laboratory procedures.”

One hundred percent of U.S. pediatric residency programs—as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Heart Association, the Emergency Nurses Association, and the National Association of Neonatal Nurses—use only human simulators in their medical training programs.

PETA has also persuaded the Madigan Army Medical Center, the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, and the Naval Medical Center San Diego to end their use of animals in pediatric intubation training drills for military medical personnel.

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