Live cats are used in a cruel pediatrics residency training program
at the University of Virginia. PCRM's recent federal complaint says this is
unlawful and that the university already owns a simulator that better mimics
Pediatrics training at the University of Virginia
(UVA) includes repeatedly forcing a plastic tube through the mouth and into
the windpipe (trachea) of a live cat. Animals used in this training
procedure often suffer tracheal bruising, bleeding, scarring, severe pain,
and they are at risk of death.
'It is unnecessary to traumatize and
harm animals to teach pediatric emergency procedures, especially when
validated simulators developed to replace animals are widely used,' says
Josie Kinkade, M.D., a local physician who co-signed the federal complaint.
'A newborn's anatomy is different from a cat's, and residents at UVA can get
a better education using human based medical simulators.'
state-of-the-art medical simulation center already owns a simulator
validated for this training. Numerous pediatrics residencies use the Gaumard
Premie HAL and Premie Blue simulators, which mimic the airway of a low birth
weight premature newborn.
PCRM's complaint, which was filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Eastern Region Animal Care office, states,
'UVA is violating
the AWA because superior training methods exist that could replace the university's use of live animals and alleviate this severe pain.' The
complaint also cites inadequate oversight in the approval of the training
protocol by the school's animal care and use committee.
Welfare Act's implementing regulations 'require that a principal investigator--including course instructors--consider
alternatives to procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain
or distress to any animal used for research purposes.'
Nonanimal education methods
are exclusively used by 94 percent of U.S. pediatrics programs, including
those at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Inova Fairfax Hospital and
Hospital for Children, and Virginia Commonwealth University Health System in
Richmond, according to an ongoing PCRM survey.
To take action and learn
more, visit PCRM.org/Pediatrics.