PCRM Exposes Cruel Use of Cats at the University of Virginia
Fiddle had plastic tubes forced down her throat 22 times in one day. A female calico, Fiddle is one of the cats used in the University of Virginia’s pediatrics training program. In November, PCRM filed a federal complaint stating that this animal use is unlawful and that life-like simulators should be used instead of animals to teach pediatric intubation.
Documents that PCRM obtained through the Virginia Public Records Act reveal a history of cruelty to animals at the university.
Fiddle and other cats are routinely intubated more than 10 times in one day. In September 2009, Fiddle suffered an “unusually hyperactive recovery” from a difficult anesthetic episode that lasted for three days. She and another cat have also suffered broken teeth caused by “blunt trauma.”
The school buys cats and kittens from Liberty Research, a company that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited for lack of sanitation and lack of housing maintenance.
PCRM’s complaint, which was filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Eastern Region Animal Care Office, states, “The University of Virginia is violating the Animal Welfare Act because superior training methods exist that could replace the university’s use of live animals and alleviate this severe pain.”
UVA’s state-of-the-art medical simulation center already owns simulators that are validated for this training and mimic the airway of a low birth weight premature newborn. According to a PCRM survey, more than 94 percent of U.S. pediatrics programs exclusively use nonanimal methods.