Kittens Get Reprieve from Medical Training

Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia (EMCP) was set to continue medical training by using live kittens for pediatric endotracheal intubation practice by residents. PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) has long been doing battle with medical schools on the subject of vivisection.  In May of this year, they filed a complaint against EMCP, citing violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA.)

While societal attitudes about vivisection are changing, there are still some medical schools that teach students through the use of live animals.  EMCP was one of them – until recently.

PCRM reached out to Animal ACTivests of Philly, a grassroots organization that organizes demonstrations on Philadelphia-area animal rights issues and advocates for animals wherever there is a need.  A demonstration at EMCP was scheduled for Wednesday, August 15.

It has now been cancelled; the reason is good news.  EMCP notified PCRM they have decided to stop the use of live kittens in pediatric endotracheal intubation residency training.  “The victory came after PCRM announced that local physicians were going to join us for a public demonstration outside the hospital,” as stated on the PCRM website.  Marianne Bessey from Animal ACTivists told me “I’ve found so often the threat of a demo is more effective than a demo itself!”

When live kittens are used for intubation practice, they sustain bruising and scarring to their trachea.  Animals used for this purpose experience repeated attempts by residents and therefore are more at risk for errors, causing injuries.

How many times does the average family kitten undergo anesthesia necessitating endotracheal intubation in a lifetime?  It’s reasonable to answer: hardly ever!  To subject these otherwise healthy and normal kittens to unnecessary medical procedures is the definition of cruel and inhumane.

Most medical schools are now using simulators like “Premie Hal” for educating medical students and residents.  Practicing on the simulator, animal advocates argue, is more educational than animals because the anatomy is not the same in different species.  It is similar, but not identical.  The following YouTube video shows how Premie Hal works.

PCRM has been successful in getting other medical schools to switch from using live animals in the training of their students.  “The Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Virginia finally eliminated the use of animals in their medical school curricula,” according to their website.  “Vanderbilt University, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Texas at Houston joined Albert Einstein in Philadelphia in stopping the use of animals in pediatrics training.”

There are seven U.S. medical schools that still use live animals in teaching. Out of the 137 allopathic medical schools in the U.S. and 36 osteopathic U.S. schools, a total of 156 have stopped using live animals in their medical curricula.  All 17 of Canadian allopathic schools do not use live animals in their training.

Isn’t it great to see success in the collaborative work of so many dedicated animal activists?

Related Reading:

Is Animal Testing Ever Okay?

Organ Chips Could Replace Animal Experiments

2,500 Beagles Slated for Vivisection Are Freed

India Bans Live Animals in University and Hospital Research

Photo credit: You as a Machine via Flickr


Desiree Ponton
Desiree P5 years ago

Thanks PRCM & all animal activists!

Michaela G.
Michaela G5 years ago

"Using" animals for experimenting is disgusting and medically useless.

Pamela W.
Pamela W5 years ago

Congratulations Einstein ........ be it a little "late", at least you got there in the end !! On to the next one folks ...... there are still some out there who haven't "got the message" !!!!!!!!!!

Cindy Girgenti
Cindy G5 years ago

Thank God for animal activists and PCRM!! Animals were not put on this earth for humans do to what they want to them...and it's time the human race stops thinking like that!

Cindy Girgenti
Cindy G5 years ago

Thank God for animal activists and PCRM!! Animals were not put on this earth for humans do to what they want to them...and it's time the human race stops thinking like that!

anita TUCK5 years ago

The more I hear about testing on animals, the more angry I get... why the heck don't they do tests on humans, and pay them (well, of course not... testing on animals is free, and you don't have to get their permission), or why don't they use convicted murders, serial killers, etc? Answer: Even the lowest of human scum, who one would assume have forfeited their rights by killing other humans, cruelly and savagely, are regarded as superior to the most innocent of animals, because these human offal have 'rights'.

As a matter of interest, an acquaintance of mine uses a brand of cosmetic (I'm working on her to stop) notorious for their supposed testing of their products on animals... guess what? The make-up base she uses stings her eyes every time she uses it, and she knows of others who have the same problem. So probably hundreds of animals have suffered pain and in many cases been euthenased (I hope at least that action was humane, but find myself doubting it), all for nothing. Great people we share this Earth of ours with!

Wendy Schroeder
Wendy Schroeder5 years ago

I'm against cruelty to animals. I don't care if it's for "a good cause". They have feelings and as just right to a peaceful life as humans.

ann paveletz
.5 years ago

Why do they think they can test on an animal and they will know how the test will react on humans/ Tell me what I have in common with kittens...I love them.. that is why I do not like them being used for testing. Ann

Valentina R.
Valentina R5 years ago

A small step is better than nothing, however testing (of all types) should be banned on all animals, not just kittens.

Anita Wisch
Anita Wisch5 years ago

We are so much further ahead in medical expertise via computer modeling, that animal experimentation has become so antiquated, and doesn't even give species correct results.

How does doing an experiment on a rabbit, have anything to do with a human reaction to eye irritants????

Bad idea........ always was, always will be!