Tell the Army to Stop Using Ferrets for Training

Target: Madigan Army Medical Center

Goal: Replace the use of ferrets for training with modern medical simulators.

In 2007, the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington, announced that it was going to phase out the use of ferrets for pediatric intubation training. However, they are continuing to use ferrets for training the procedure, which involves shoving hard plastic tubes down ferrets’ windpipes.

The medical training can result in bleeding, swelling, pain, scarring, collapsed lungs, and in some cases, death. Department of Defense regulations have mandated that alternatives to the use of animals for medical training procedures be used whenever they are available, and several other military medical centers, such as the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, the Naval Medical Center San Diego, and the William Beaumont Army Medical Center, now use infant simulators, which are far superior to the use of ferrets. Additionally, other medical training facilities and 90 percent of pediatric residency programs across the country have also abandoned the use of ferrets for training infant intubation.

Simulators have been proven to provide better preparation for medical professionals to intubate children. Using ferrets, with their delicate windpipes, does not accurately represent human anatomy, and those training to perform the procedure need to practice multiple times, which is cruel and inhumane when conducted on a living creature, especially during the learning phase.

By signing the petition below, you are asking the Madigan Army Medical Center to stop the use of ferrets for intubation training, and to begin using the modern medical simulators, which are better for the trainees, their future patients, and animals.


Dear Madigan Army Medical Center,

Your facility was supposed to have phased out the cruel use of ferrets when training infant intubation in 2007, yet five years later, you continue to use ferrets, rather than the far superior simulators. Studies have shown the modern medical simulators provided better training opportunities because they best mimic human anatomy. They also give the trainee a chance to practice their technique multiple times without harming a living creature. By using ferrets, you are shoving hard plastic tubes that can cause bleeding, swelling, collapsed lungs, and death.

Many other medical facilities, including military-based ones and 90 percent of pediatric residency programs, have discontinued the use of animals for medical training. I am asking you switch out the use of ferrets for the modern simulators. The simulators will provide better practice for trainees, and better prepare them to perform the procedure on a live infant. It is the best choice for everyone, and results in less harm and inhumane treatment of any living creature.

[Your Name Here]

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