This would seem to be a no-brainer, and I’m assuming the facts are as stated. It is a letter from a doctor who has created a petition on change.org.
I can’t even imagine if my beloved cats suffered the same fate as Alley, Fiddle and Kiki.
Alley, Fiddle and Kiki are three cats used in pediatric intubation trainings at the University of Virginia medical school. The details are horrific: they’re immobilized and helpless as plastic tubes are repeatedly forced down their throats — sometimes as many as 20 times each session. And Alley, Fiddle and Kiki have been enduring this torture for the last seven years.
As a pediatrician with over 25 years of experience, I know just how important proper intubation can be for premature babies. But it’s far more realistic to practice on a human simulator than a cat — which is why almost every other medical school has stopped using animals in trainings. I can’t believe UVA would keep abusing these defenseless creatures rather than following universities like Yale and Johns Hopkins.
There are only weeks before Alley, Fiddle and Kiki will be subjected to yet another year of this torture — a new round of pediatric residency students will start orientation on June 14. I’ve started an urgent petition on Change.org asking the university to stop using cats for training before classes start. Will you join me?
The university claims the cats are treated well — but I can’t imagine anyone agreeing to let his or her cat or dog at home suffer this sort of procedure month after month, year after year. I don’t see the difference between Alley, Fiddle, and Kiki at UVA, and my cats Beeto, Binky, Pounce, and Spooky at home.
I know from experience just how vital intubation can be — it saves lives. I’m simply asking the university to stop using this outdated and unnecessarily cruel method of teaching.
At least 94% of pediatric residency programs have stopped using cats because more ethical, effective methods are available. I’m convinced that if UVA hears from thousands of people across the community, it will realize it should do the same.
Thanks for your help,
Dr. Roberta Gray
If there are equally effective ways to train doctors that don’t involve torturing animals, we are obliged to end that torture. You can find the petition at the link above, or here. I’ve signed it. There are 75,000 signatures, and about the same number to go.