Ferret research under fire: Complaint against Lackland for animal intubation testing

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by Karen Grace / KENS 5

Bio | Email | Follow: @KENSKarenGrace

kens5.com

Posted on July 11, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 11 at 7:07 PM

KENS 5 has obtained a complaint filed against the 59th Medical Wing at Lackland Air Force Base regarding its use of ferrets for pediatric training. Animal advocates say it's cruel and unnecessary.

PETA say ferrets are so different from humans that this testing does more harm than good, not just to animals, but to future babies.

Intubation is said to be the most painful procedure a baby can have. A hard plastic tube is shoved down its tiny throat to make it breath.

PETA says pediatric residents at Lackland Air Force Base are learning how to save babies lives at the expense of ferrets. They say its all at the expense of a baby's health down the road. "You wouldn't use a human baby to learn how to intubate a ferret," said Justin Goodman, spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.  "This makes just as little sense."

He says hard plastic tubes are still being jammed down ferrets' throats up to six times a session. He says after more than a year of pleading, PETA finally slapped this complaint against the base.

They say this method even "violates the Department of Defense's regulation regarding the use of animals."

The majority of residency programs currently use baby mannequins for pediatric training. That begs the question, "Why are ferrets still on the lab table at Wilford Hall?"

That's a question the Air Force Surgeon General, Bruce Green, MD, is looking into. PETA shared with KENS 5 an email that says he will be looking into this issue.

Eyewitness News has contacted the 59th Medical Wing for comment. A spokesperson says they are waiting to receives PETA's formal complaint before responding on camera.

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