Washington University Stops Using Cats for Medical Training
St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Washington University, the last school known to use live animals for training, “has stopped using cats to train new doctors on how to insert breathing tubes,” after years of pressure from animal rights groups. The medical school issued this statement:
“After careful consideration and a significant investment in its simulation center, Washington University School of Medicine now will provide neonatal intubation training using only mannequins and advanced simulators. Improvements in the simulators make this possible. Therefore, the university has made the decision to no longer rely on anesthetized cats in training health care professionals to perform these life-saving intubation procedures.”
Dr. John Pippin, director of academic affairs for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, applauded the move, and while the USDA did not find any violation of the Animal Welfare Act when they inspected the school, Pippin stated:
“The best way to teach emergency airway intervention in on human-relevant training methods. I commend Washington University for switching to modern methods.”
In an e-mail exchange between Gary Silverman, the Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the university, and the Physicians Committee, Silverman noted that they were currently “looking for adoptive ‘parents’ for the cats.” Earlier this year, John Hopkins University ended the use of live pigs in surgical training courses.
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