Stop the Use of Cats in Medical Training Exercises

Target: Dean of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Dr. Larry J. Shapiro, M.D.

Goal: Stop the use of live cats as training tools in the pediatrics course being run at Washington University in St. Louis

Cats are being used as the live test subjects for medical students in a pediatrics course at Washington University in St. Louis. The cats are subjected to a painful procedure conducted by unskilled medical students. WUSL is the last school to be using cats in their training program, as most other medical facilities have upgraded to using infant simulators.

Even though the infant simulators are supposed to be a better training tool, WUSL still has trainees use cats. During the procedure, students force plastic tubes down the cats windpipes in order to learn how to insert medical tubes into human infants. These trainees are unskilled, and they have to struggle with the tubes before finally being able to stick them all the way down the animal’s throat. It has also been reported that the students handle their metal instruments in such a way that could break the cat’s teeth. Even though the cats are anesthetized at the beginning of the procedure, it is not uncommon for the cat to wake up in the middle of it, and that experience causes extreme psychological distress, not to mention physical pain.

Animals are only supposed to go through the procedure five times per session, because any extra procedures will cause the animal a lot of pain.  It has been reported that for each session, every cat is forced to be intubated 15 times. The resident veterinarian at the school said that there have been instances in which cats’ windpipes are injured, which can lead to bleeding, scarring, collapsed lungs, and in extreme cases, death.

Infant simulators have been proven to be a better option for teaching how to intubate human infants. Demand that Washington University at St. Louis stop testing on cats, and use more advanced and humane technology instead.


Dear Dr. Shapiro

The use of animals for scientific and medical testing is becoming less and less popular. Countries around the world are banning the practice, and it is looked down upon by many people. Washington University at St. Louis is reportedly the last school using live cats for their Pediatric Advanced Life Support course. This is an out-dated practice and is unacceptable.

New technology has proven to be much more effective: the life-like infant simulators used at most other medical facilities are proven to be superior. The greatest benefit of using a simulator, however, would be that no animals would have to endure any more painful procedures. At the moment, these cats are being traumatized and possibly injured even though there is a viable option available. It is imperative that WUSL switches to the infant simulator, and stops harming animals.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Thai Jasmine (Smile..Smile…Smile..) via Flickr

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  1. KatWrangler says:

    Posted: Mar 25, 2013 10:14 AM EDT
    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – The University of Virginia has stopped using live cats to train medical students to insert breathing tubes in newborns.

    UVA spokesman McGregor McCance tells The Daily Progress that the university’s three felines have been adopted out.

    The university didn’t say why it stopped the practice. The policy is still under review.

    Critics of the practice say simulators should be used instead of live cats.

    *** I do believe UVA STOPPED using cats because there was a huge e-mail petition showing the public’s outrage at this barbaric practice.

    Washington State U – and ANY other institution using cruel, outdated methods needs to follow suit NOW! ***

  2. Animal testing& vivisection is inhumane in every feasible way!!! For a country thats so advanced& offers Many alternatives, its appalling that such Barbaric methods are still being used!!! ♥ ^_^

  3. Julie Kertesz says:

    This type of testing is inhumane, barbaric and completely unnecessary!! The world watches in horror at this practice right here in North America. Come on people, the time to do what is right is right now!!!! And this, is clearly not right!!

  4. SInce they need to get experience I say let them practice on humans! Or stop altogether. Where are these folks sense of compassion? And if they would harm a defensless Kitten like that… what would they do to a baby? I’d never trust my baby with anyone who did this to a kitten.Some people are just gross!

  5. How can people look in to the eyes of an animal and do anything inhumane to them. If we don’t like to be used as a guinea pig by our doctors what would make those idiots think that animals do. SICK SICK SICK!!! We are the voice for those babies so lets protect them.

  6. Pure infantile primitivism – what kind of idiotic monsters are able to handle and destroy living creatures in that way is unbelievable – monsters are not humans and deserves monsterwork too.

    People need to vote unacting dumb authorities and officials acting irresponsibly to futuregenerations out of occupations NOW AND FOR ALL!

    “While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal positions on this earth?”
    George Bernhard Shaw

    • Melanie Barrett says:

      Thank you for sharing this insight on all living creatures regarding their absolute intended role on this earth, v.s. abuse by ignorant humans. There are ways and means to achieve any objective, but turning our backs on God’s creations is to say humans themselves are lesser than they are…and factoring behaviors such as unnecessary animal research when other and better means are available, make humans significantly less intelligent than they are. Shame on us when better means are available for research not based simply on the cost savings!

  7. Stop using cats how barbaric are you people

  8. Thanks for sharing this BARBARIC acts. SHAME on the students too. I am speechless, can’t believe this is legal in such a civilized country as the USA.

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