Petitions do work….sometimes. At one time I thought they didn’t. This is a notable success. This is not hot-of-the-press news but interesting information nonetheless. Both myself and Elisa have written about this before as has Robyn Gianotti.
At one time, training medical students could involve cats (has this totally stopped in the USA?). Perhaps the best known example was training aspiring paediatricians to perform a procedure called “tracheal intubation”. This, as you may know, involves placing a tube down the throat into the windpipe.
An old-fashioned and now outdated way to train medical students in this tricky procedure was to use the domestic cat as a stand-in for an infant. Nowadays students practice on human patient simulators. There is no need to put cats through this unnecessary suffering. And cats would have suffered. Think of all the mistakes students made in placing the tube in the wrong place and hurting the cat.
The cat’s trachea is not same as that of an infant. It is far from ideal for a number of reasons and to me plainly cruel to abuse cats in this way.
There was a time when the University of Virginia used three cats, Kiki, Fiddle and Alley as training aids for seven years. And all the while there were fantastically lifelike human simulators available which are far superior to using a domestic cat. Shame on the university.
Roberta Gray a training paediatrician started a petition which acquired a massive 185,1116 signatures. The outcome helped to force the hand of the University of Virginia. They stopped training on cats.
This all happened up to 5th April 2013. I just wanted to go back and see what happened and if the university had stopped. I makes me wonder why they used cats in the first place. It can only be laziness and/or because it is cheaper to be cruel to cats. This is an attitude that one would not expect from intelligent people involved in medicine. They demonstrated a lack of respect for the cat and all animals.