Bob Barker’s Letter To Wash U. To Stop Harming Cats

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Former game show host of the “Price Is Right” and avid animal rights activist Bob Barker has written a letter on behalf of PETA to Washington University about their treatment of cats.

The letter references a new undercover video by the People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals.  The students in a Washington University Pediatric Advanced Life Support course are shown  inserting plastic tubes in the animal’s throats.  The students are learning how to save human babies lives.  But, the cats they are operating on can be seen waking up during the procedure.   According to PETA the American Heart Association, which sponsors the course, recommends that only simulators be used for the training.

PETA has been criticized over the past few years for racy ads, extreme views and unconventional tactics in the name of animal welfare.

The letter by Bob Barker follows: 

Dear Chancellor Wrighton,

Having grown up in Missouri and having interrupted my wife’s pre-med training at Washington University in St. Louis by proposing to her, I was deeply troubled to see PETA’s new undercover video showing that Washington University—in conjunction with St. Louis Children’s Hospital—continues to allow Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) course trainees to practice on animals. This crude training exercise consists of repeatedly forcing hard tubes down the cats’ delicate throats, an extremely painful procedure that places these animals at risk for serious injuries—and for no good reason. Far superior teaching methods exist that can run circles around that old-fashioned cat lab. I would like to work with you to end this practice.

You may know that the American Heart Association, which created and sponsors that PALS course, has stated: “We do not endorse or require the use of animals during the AHA-PALS training because of advances and availability of simulation mannequins.

I understand that your PALS course employs low-tech manikins and that you are not using the state-of-the-art pediatric simulators available, although my PETA friends tell me that you do possess some at your Saigh Pediatric Simulation Center. I can only surmise that this is because you do not have enough of them to go around.

I would like to donate two ultra-realistic infant simulators to WUSTL to be used in place of the two cats intubated during each PALS course so as to facilitate the transition to an all-simulation PALS curriculum.

After consulting with the real experts on simulators, two options I recommend are BabySIM and SimBaby. Unlike cats, these strikingly realistic simulators faithfully replicate human infant anatomy and physiology. They cry, breathe, cough, squirm, and have audible heart sounds and a pulse. They even simulate difficulties that occur when intubating real human babies. In 2009, when the Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, Mo., switched from cats to SimBaby for PALS training, it issued this statement: “One of the issues is that any time you do training, you want to use best practices. For many years, that was live cats, but now we have these simulators [that] very closely simulate what happens in a child. … This probably is the closest we’ve seen to a representation of a live situation.” The St. Louis University School of Medicine also uses BabySIM for its PALS course and recently published a study showing that training on BabySIM substantially improved PALS trainees’ intubation skills.

Two of either of these simulators will cost approximately $75,000. It would be my pleasure to cover the cost in order to enhance your training programs and spare the cats now housed in your facility. In fact, I would love to provide homes for the nine cats held at WUSTL for this training, too.

I hope we can work together to protect animals and improve the training of those responsible for performing life-saving medical procedures on sick and injured children.



Bob Barker

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