Help End Use of Live Cats and Ferrets in Pediatrics Training Programs
Live cats can suffer severe pain during invasive procedures performed during the pediatrics residency program at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. Ferrets are used at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., and are routinely killed after being used. PCRM recently filed federal complaints against both institutions.
Pediatrics training in these programs involves using the live animals for endotracheal intubation. This procedure includes repeatedly forcing a plastic tube through the mouths and into the windpipes of the live cats or ferrets. The animals can suffer tracheal bruising, bleeding, scarring, severe pain, and they are at risk of death.
PCRM’s complaints say the programs are violating the Animal Welfare Act because superior training methods exist that could replace the use of live animals and alleviate the severe pain and injury that can be caused by this procedure.
“It is unnecessary to traumatize animals to teach pediatric emergency procedures, since validated simulators are widely used,” says North Carolina pediatrician Roberta Gray, M.D. “A newborn baby’s anatomy is different from a ferret’s, and residents at ECU can get a better education using human patient simulators.” Dr. Gray co-signed the federal complaint against ECU with John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., PCRM’s director of academic affairs.
Dr. Gray also started a petition on Change.org that encourages the University of Virginia to end its use of cats for pediatrics training. More than 170,000 people have signed Dr. Gray’s petition.
Ninety-five percent of U.S. pediatrics programs exclusively use nonanimal education methods. ECU, Albert Einstein, and UVA are the last programs in their states using animals.
To ask these institutions to end the use of animals in pediatrics training, visit PCRM.org/Pediatrics.