Use of Cats in Pediatrics Training Continues at University of Virginia
“End Cruel Live Animal Labs.” That’s one of the messages PCRM supporters and Virginia residents carried at a demonstration to end the use of live cats in the University of Virginia’s pediatrics residency program.
Protestors at the April demonstration in Charlottesville also carried banners reading “UVA: Using Cats to Teach Human Medicine?” and “To Improve Education, Switch to Simulation.” Doctors delivered a petition signed by 886 Virginia physicians and residents urging a move to nonanimal methods.
Pediatrics training at UVA involves using live kittens and adult cats for endotracheal intubation. This includes repeatedly forcing a plastic tube into the mouth and windpipe (trachea) of a live cat. According to recent UVA veterinary records, animals used in this training procedure have suffered broken teeth, eye infections, and other injuries.
“The University of Virginia’s use of cats is inhumane and unnecessary,” says Ulka Agarwal, M.D., PCRM’s chief medical officer. “UVA residents deserve the best possible educational experience to prepare them to care for newborns. A cat’s anatomy is different from a human newborn’s, and residents can get a better education using state-of-the-art, human-centered technology.”
The vast majority of pediatrics programs use purpose-designed infant and neonatal simulators, which mimic the airway of a low birth weight premature newborn. UVA’s state-of-the-art medical simulation center could be outfitted to immediately replace the use of animals.