After PETA Campaign, Madigan Army Medical Center Ends Cruel Animal Lab

Three-Year Effort Included Appeals From Medical Experts, Thousands of E-Mails From Members of the Public

For Immediate Release:
August 15, 2013

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Tacoma, Wash. — After more than three years of urging from PETA, Madigan Army Medical Center has completely replaced its cruel use of ferrets for pediatric intubation training with modern simulators. PETA’s campaign—which included e-mail appeals from more than 60,000 people, letters from civilian and military medical experts, and even a public banner drop in Tacoma—prompted Madigan to undertake an internal review that ultimately confirmed that lifelike infant-patient simulators can be used exclusively to teach intubation skills. This decision brings Madigan in line with the overwhelming majority of other military medical facilities and brings it into compliance with Department of Defense guidelines that require that non-animal training methods be used when available.

Intubation training on ferrets requires repeatedly forcing hard plastic tubes down their delicate windpipes and can cause bleeding, swelling, pain, scarring, collapsed lungs, and even death. Studies have repeatedly shown that pediatric intubation training on simulators prepares trainees better to treat children than crude animal laboratories do.

“PETA applauds Madigan’s leadership for its compassionate, medically sound decision to use superior modern simulation tools instead of shoving tubes down ferrets’ throats,” says Justin Goodman, director of PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department. “Using animals to teach human anatomy is like trying to get from Seattle to New York using a map of France. Both patients and trainees will benefit from Madigan’s new advanced, effective, and humane intubation training curriculum.”

PETA has also convinced Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and Naval Medical Center San Diego to end their animal-based intubation exercises. Tripler Army Medical Center, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and William Beaumont Army Medical Center also use only simulation methods for pediatric intubation training, as do more than 98 percent of U.S. pediatric residency programs.

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