PETA to Missouri Attorney General: Stop Hospital’s Apparent Cat Lab Fraud

St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s Website Contradicts Scientific Evidence That Cruel Intubation Training on Live Cats Is Ineffective

For Immediate Release:
May 13, 2013

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

St. Louis — Today, PETA filed a complaint with the Missouri attorney general alleging that St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) has violated the state’s false advertising law by misleading the public about the effectiveness of cruel cat intubation laboratories that it offers as part of a $300 to $400 training course. PETA is asking the attorney general to require SLCH to remove the apparently fraudulent statements from its website.

As PETA explains in its complaint, trainees in SLCH’s Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) course, conducted in conjunction with Washington University in St. Louis, force plastic tubes down the delicate throats of cats in archaic intubation exercises.

SLCH’s website promotes the course by claiming, among other things, that students who practice intubation on animals are the “best qualified,” even though scientific studies have repeatedly found that students who are taught using exclusively lifelike manikins are better at intubating babies than those who use animals. SLCH offers no evidence to support its statement.

“SLCH shouldn’t be allowed to continue to tell customers that jamming a tube down a cat’s throat is the most effective training method, when medical research has actually shown that it’s inferior to training that uses only modern simulators,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Laboratory Investigations Kathy Guillermo. “PETA asks the Missouri attorney general to stop SLCH from making statements that put other PALS training facilities using simulators instead of animals, including St. Louis University and Mercy Children’s Hospital, at a competitive disadvantage.”

PETA noted the following in its complaint to the attorney general:

  • A study published in the journal Pediatric Emergency Care found that trainees who practiced intubation exclusively on infant manikins were “significantly more successful on the first attempt at intubation” as well as overall when treating human infants than those who had also practiced on animals.
  • The American Heart Association (AHA), the PALS course’s developer and sponsor, explicitly states, “We do not endorse or require the use of animals during the AHA-PALS training because of advances and availability of simulation mannequins. These mannequins provide the opportunity to practice all the necessary skills.”
  • SLCH is the only one out of more than 1,000 PALS facilities in the nation that PETA knows of that still uses cats for intubation training.

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