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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 22, 2013
Touché, Wash U, You Manipulated Us All--But It Won’t Happen Twice: An Open Letter From Your Local Critics
St. Louis, MO
To Washington University: We’re thrilled to have put enough pressure on Bo Kennedy and Wash U to help force an end to the cat intubation lab within Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) courses offered by the school and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. But, of course, we all learned that Kennedy is still insisting on using animals for the exact same procedure recently discontinued in PALS classes--now only within WUSM residency training, where outsiders can no longer get a look behind the lab doors. Is that because of the embarrassing fact that Wash U is an outlier in the medical community, representing one of only three schools still using animals for intubation training? Or because the procedure itself makes people rightly uncomfortable, as defenseless animals have plastic tubes repeatedly forced down their delicate airways? With the May 31st statement from Children’s Hospital rep Jackie Ferman, everyone believed the cat lab had closed for good. Yet in a deceptive move even we didn’t think you’d make, Drs. Kennedy and Cole outed Wash U as having lied by omission to everyone waiting to see the permanent end of this inhumane operation. Kennedy and Cole’s June 12th op-ed to the Post-Dispatch was meant to clarify the previous statement, and to alert the unsuspecting public that you are still sentencing animals to lives of conﬁnement and abuse to serve a medically unsound training program. Obviously you knew that if you didn’t make a proactive statement, word would’ve leaked out, and the outrage over your secrecy would’ve been even bigger. It’s all one big PR maneuver, and don’t think for a second we don’t recognize it for exactly that. Truly, Wash U, your arrogance is staggering. What you may not have accounted for, however, is the backlash you have just unleashed, not just from us, but from the public watching this cruel spectacle unfold. To be sure, we have already begun strategizing our next moves. Not only will our efforts be redoubled, but they will be diversiﬁed. You will see us and hear us everywhere. Let’s also set the record straight. While we have worked in tandem with PETA and other advocates from around the world to end the cat lab, we are not, as the Post-Dispatch and other media outlets have reported, “PETA representatives.” We are a group of local activists who represent a concerned local citizenry that includes students and staff from your own institution. We are the people who stand outside your medical campus to protest nearly every week, who attend and coordinate events to educate the public about what’s going on within your labs, who leaked photos from inside your vivarium, and who watch your every move from right here in our shared city. And we will not stop. This campaign is not over until each of the cats and ferrets used for intubation is in a proper home and there is a public, ofﬁcial statement from Washington University that no more animals will ever be left to suffer Bo Kennedy’s egomania and abusive whims. Until then...