University of Indiana Stops Using Live Cats for StudyPublished September 13, 2011
Animal lovers who believe using animals for medical research is inhumane and no longer necessary will be thrilled and greatly relieved by the recent news announced by The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).
Thanks to PCRM, Indiana University will no longer be using live cats in their pediatrics residency program. Instead they will be using simulators which will end the pain and suffering to which cats were repeatedly subjected. No longer will plastic tubes be forced into the cats’ mouths and windpipes in order to teach intubation to pediatric residents.
Following a request by PCRM for a curriculum evaluation, Indiana University has begun using more modern teaching methods for their trainees which actually provides them with more effective ways to care for newborns, according to a letter from the school’s residency program director.
According to an article posted on the PCRM website, The Indiana University School of Medicine's use of animals in their training program came under scrutiny after PCRM urged the school to stop using animals. At this time, 94 percent of the U.S. pediatric programs surveyed by PCRM are using non-animal education methods.
Since this past January, 10 pediatric programs, including Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, the University of Arizona and Cincinnati Children's Hospital, have also confirmed they have stopped using animals in their training. Following announcements made by medical institutions around the country, and the complaints and requests from PCRM, Indiana University is revising their program to conform to non-animal training methods in their pediatrics training.
John Pippin, MD, FAAC and PCRM's director of academic affairs said, "Indiana University School of Medicine is to be congratulated on its carefully considered decision to move to non-animal methods of pediatrics training.”
Founded in 1985 by Neal D. Bernard of the George Washington University Medical School, the PCRM (a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C) has been working tirelessly to promote alternatives to animal research. Their mission is described as encouraging "higher standards of ethics and effectiveness in research,” and ending the use of animals in medical school curricula. The organization is a major advocate for change through legislative efforts on both a local and national level.
With advancements made in medical simulation technology , the increasing concern about the ethics of using live animals in training physicians, the growing availability of non-animal alternatives, and (most importantly) the increasing awareness and acceptance that human-focused medical training makes more sense, medical training institutions are making changes.
However, this being said, at the University of Washington, ferrets continue to be used in pediatrics training suffering tracheal injury, severe pain and bleeding, sometimes resulting in their death.
Visit the PCRM’s website to learn which schools are still using live animals for medical training. For those wishing to help, contact the University of Washington. Ask them to stop using live animals for pediatric training.
In this writer’s opinion, animals and humans, while similar in many ways, at the same time differ greatly. Aspirin is toxic to cats, but is in common use for humans. So what would have been gained for our species by testing it on a feline? What do you think? Share in a comment.