The group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, says Texas Tech is responsible for the inhumane treatment of some cats from Odessa. The folks with PETA filed an official complaint on Wednesday urging Tech administrators to replace the cats used in medical training with modern medical simulators or mannequins that better represent the human anatomy. PETA says the university has been buying cats from Odessa's animal control for the past few years, and medical students use the cats to practice painful intubation procedures in which they repeatedly force hard plastic tubes down the cats' windpipes. Tech officials say their training complies with the Animal Welfare Act, and a representative with Odessa's Animal Services says university officials have assured them the animals are not being mis-treated.
Cpl. Sherri Carruth with Odessa Animal Control says, "This has been going on for some time and these cats they are getting from us are cats that would otherwise be euthanized anyway. They [the university] have assured us these cats are in no way being tortured. The cats are under anesthetic so they are not feeling any of this treatment."
PETA has filed similar complaints against several other universities across the country, and PETA officials claim most have chosen to stop using live animals and switched to the mannequins. However, in a statement released on Wednesday TTUHSC officials say they have no plans at this time to start using mannequins.