Earlier this year, the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), along with the Northwest Animal Rights Network and the Seattle Animal Defense League, called upon the University of Washington to end the use of live ferrets in their pediatrics residency training. Since then, over 20,000 supporters have emailed the UW, and other supporters attended a visible demonstration in front of the UW Medicine building, which garnered media coverage. We’ve got their attention, but now there’s more to the story.
Documents that have been obtained through Washington’s public records law reveal that there is more going on at UW than previously expected. The PCRM discovered that the UW was telling the public one thing, while the opposite was true. The PCRM place an ad in the school’s student newspaper, alerting students and faculty that UW has been lying about killing animals.
A faculty member at UW told the Seattle Times earlier this year that the school had stopped killing rabbits for chest tube placement training, but the documents that PCRM obtained prove otherwise. UW has also claimed that the ferrets used in pediatrics residency training are adopted out, but documents reveal that numerous ferrets have been killed in the past three years.
The lying doesn’t stop there. UW has told the public that the use of ferrets in endotracheal intubation training is necessary, but according to internal communications the head of newborn medicine reportedly stated that the use of ferrets will end “because we can’t prove that they are any better than a training manikin.”
But this really shouldn’t come as a surprise as the UW has been investigated, cited, and fined over numerous violations in their animal-based medical and research programs. For the UW, this is par for the course. Please let the UW administrators know that lying to the public is unacceptable, and that they should end the use of animals.