Cheap and Greedy Moral Degenerates at PennVet Extend Their Warmest Christmas Greetings to an Impecunious, but Preeminently Treatable, Cat Via a Jab of Sodium Pentobarbital
"Veterinary care has become brutally expensive."
-- Kenneth J. Drobatz of PennVet
About the only thing worth reading nowadays in American daily newspapers is the filler material inserted by copy boys and other underlings in order to plug holes whenever either management's long-winded propaganda spiels unexpectedly run short or anticipated advertising sales fail to materialize. That is because the editors and reporters of these scurrilous rags make doubly certain that only the viewpoints and interests of the political and economic elites that they serve receive a fair and nonjudgmental public airing.
In spite of the best efforts of these apologists for the entrenched and thoroughly corrupt establishment, an occasional enlightening tidbit of truth sometimes accidentally finds its way into these totalitarian propaganda sheets. Such was the case with a ridiculously one-sided article that appeared in the December 30th edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer lauding to high heaven the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital (PennVet) at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) in Philadelphia. (See "The Holidays Can Be Rough on Pets.")
During the course of a lengthy exposé trumpeting the marvels of veterinary medicine, the expertise of the practitioners, and the dozens of cats and dogs whose lives they allegedly either save or extend on a daily basis, The Inquirer let slip the petit fait that PennVet recently had cruelly and mercilessly killed off an unidentified cat due to the impecunity of its owner. The unfortunate feline accidentally had swallowed a piece of ribbon from a Christmas present and the low-life, scum-of-the-earth veterinarians adamantly had refused to treat it unless they first were paid several thousand dollars up front.
When the cat's owner was unable to come up with the wheelbarrow of cash demanded by the mercenaries, they promptly got out the sodium pentobarbital and killed it on the spot. That, by the way, is how the world-renowned practitioners of veterinary medicine at the rich-as-Croesus University of Pennsylvania say "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" to impecunious animals and their aggrieved owners.
The Inquirer failed to disclose how much blood money the veterinarians demanded in order to snuff out the cat's life but it is pretty much a forgone conclusion that they did not perform even that shockingly immoral and dastardly deed gratis. It likewise has not been disclosed why the ribbon would not sooner or later simply have either rotted away or passed harmlessly through the cat's intestines.
Along about that same time a part-labradoodle, part-goldendoodle who also accidentally had swallowed a plastic Christmas tree ornament was able to rid itself of the foreign object without veterinary intervention. Although making comparisons between the two cases based solely upon the elliptical amount of information supplied by The Inquirer is a rather risky proposition, it nonetheless is conceivable that the principal difference between them boiled down to money. C'est-à-dire, the dog's owner was able to pay for its hospitalization and monitoring whereas the cat's owner was unable to even do that much for it.
In addition to PennVet's steadfast refusal to intervene in order to save the lives of cats who are owned by the poor, it is rather safe to assume that it gives discounted rates to the pets of its employees. For example, on Christmas Day a two-year-old Boxer-mix named Hattie, owned by first-year surgery student Heidi McDevitt, was poisoned after eating chocolate candy that her husband carelessly had left lying around their house.
Rushed to PennVet, Hattie was administered an anemic, activated charcoal, and intravenous fluids. She then was held overnight and McDevitt charged $600.
Earlier in November, she had gotten into McDevitt's supply of ibuprofen and that had resulted in her being forced to spend a week in the Intensive Care Unit at PennVet. According to The Inquirer, that cost McDevitt another $5,000.
In its typical dishonest brand of journalism, The Inquirer fails to inform the public if the prices charged McDevitt in order to treat Hattie were in any way commensurate with those that PennVet charges customers from outside of its charmed circle. It is difficult to speculate with any authority, but au premier coup d'oeil McDevitt's veterinary bills appear to be rather meager when compared to the exorbitant amount that PennVet demanded in order to treat the cat who had swallowed the ribbon.
Secondly, The Inquirer fails to reveal whether McDevitt was forced to pay in full before her colleagues would treat Hattie or if was she extended credit and allowed to pony up at her leisure. The latter scenario would seem to be more likely in that it is highly doubtful that her colleagues would have tried the same strong-arm tactics on her that they did on the owner of the sick cat.
|The Privileged Ones, Hattie and Heidi McDevitt|
It therefore seems clear that PennVet not only is guilty of discriminating against impecunious cats and their owners but also of showing favoritism toward the dogs of its employees. Perhaps most insulting of all, McDevitt has the chutzpah to feign a compassion that she, quite obviously, does not share.
"My animal has been in this room," she gassed to The Inquirer in the article cited supra. "I know what it's like when you don't know what the outcome's going to be."
Such a disingenuous and self-serving expulsion of hot air is totally irrelevant because the pertinent question does not concern the uncertainty of whether an animal on the operating table is going to live or die, but rather knowing for sure that it is doomed because sawed-off slugs like McDevitt and her colleagues will not save its life unless they first are paid handsomely for doing so.
To put the matter succinctly, Hattie is alive today only because of the privileged perch that McDevitt occupies at PennVet and the cat is in its grave solely due to a lack of money and its owner's not knowing the right people. All other considerations are pure balderdash!
Under such a perverse arrangement, McDevitt is free to continue to be an irresponsible dog owner for as long as she either works at PennVet or Hattie somehow manages to stay alive. Best of all, there is absolutely nothing in either her personal and professional life that ever will tempt her to realize that the poor love their cats and dogs every bit as much as she supposedly loves Hattie.
Moral degenerates like her and her colleagues at PennVet never change. The exploit and abuse the animals, Mother Earth, and their fellow humans without so much as an iota of either compassion or remorse.
"Veterinary care has become brutally expensive," was all that her boss Kenneth J. Drobatz, who is in charge of the emergency room at PennVet, was able to come up with in defense of his surgery's Machiavellian policies. While there sans doute may be a kernel of truth in his assertion, veterinary bills nonetheless would have to be over the moon before they ever would be able to even remotely match the level of brutality that resides in his, McDevitt's, and their colleagues' black souls at PennVet.
Back on July 8, 2010, David Livesay rescued a five-week-old orange and white nameless kitten that had been thrown out of the window of a black, four-door vehicle on Interstate 24 in Chattanooga. Over the course of the next four hours he toiled in vain to procure live-saving veterinary intervention for it and, after at least two practitioners had refused to treat it, the kitten was killed off by the McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center.
"It's life! It's a life!" Livesay pleaded to no avail. "Anything alive is worth saving." (See Cat Defender post of July 16, 2010 entitled "Tossed Out the Window of a Car Like an Empty Beer Can, Injured Chattanooga Kitten is Left to Die after at Least Two Veterinarians Refused to Treat It.")
Drobatz, McDevitt, and their colleagues at PennVet quite obviously tap their gnarled toes to the beat of an entirely different drummer. Blinded by greed every bit as much as the Greek god Plutus, the only morality that they recognize is the folding kind that fits neatly into their already overstuffed wallets.
That callous attitude certainly is far different from the one that prevailed when William Todhunter Hall, president of Ivy College, risked losing a large donation from a wealthy benefactress in order to rescue a lost dog. Of course, even that noble act occurred only in a totally fictional episode of The Halls of Ivy entitled "Mrs. Foster's Dog" which aired April 14, 1950 on NBC Radio. (The show lives on at Internet Archive and elsewhere on the web.)
|"Brutal" Kenneth J. Drobatz|
Any cat or dog that unwittingly wanders onto Penn's sprawling urban campus today is venturing into a danger zone. Not only are they destined to be denied the humane and veterinary care that they so richly deserve, but they additionally could be robbed of their precious lives.
The time is long overdue that PennVet and all other practitioners were divested of their right to withhold veterinary care from sick and injured animals and that same sterling principle should be made applicable to all health care providers as well. The basic necessities needed in order to support and sustain both animal and human life should be available upon demand to one and all regardless of their ability to pay.
Any veterinarian or physician unwilling to abide by that moral imperative should be branded as unfit to practice and promptly kicked out of their respective professions. Individuals and businesses that expect to reap unlimited profits from their endeavors should go into some nonessential line of work, such as either throwing a football or tap dancing, where they would be totally justified in raking in as much as market conditions would allow.
In its defense, PennVet argues on its web site that it annually treats up to thirty-three-thousand small animals at Ryan. Included in that total are thirteen-thousand that require emergency care.
Those statistics are meaningless, however, without PennVet simultaneously disclosing the exact number of cats and dogs that it turns away each year because their owners are unable to pay the exorbitant fees that it demands. Perhaps even more importantly, deliberately killing off cats, dogs, and other small animals with jabs of sodium pentobarbital is hardly the same thing as providing them with competent and effective veterinary care.
PennVet and all other practitioners of veterinary medicine therefore should be compelled by law to disclose both the number of animals that they deliberately kill each year as well as those that they send to their graves through sheer incompetence and malpractice. Only then can their performances be fairly and properly evaluated by the public.
Furthermore, it is dishonest for no-kill proponents and others to hold the fur of shelter operators to the fire while simultaneously turning a blind eye to the killing fields that exist at PennVet and other surgeries. (See Cat Defender posts of December 22, 2011, July 28, 2011, and January 11, 2012 entitled, respectively, "Rogue TNR Practitioner and Three Unscrupulous Veterinarians Kill at Least Sixty-Two Cats with the Complicity of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals," "Tammy and Maddy Are Forced to Pay the Ultimate Price after Their Owner and an Incompetent Veterinarian Elect to Play Russian Roulette with Their Lives," and "A Deadly Intrigue Concocted by a Thief, Shelter, and a Veterinary Chain Costs Ginger the Continued Enjoyment of His Golden Years.")
Transparency in pricing also is vital in that it is strongly suspected that the vast majority of sick and injured cats and dogs could be treated every bit as economically as they now are killed. The only real difference is that most veterinarians are far too lazy to attend to them.
Killing them, on the other hand, is not only cheap but quick and lucrative as well. As PennVet's soul mate, Teresa Chargin of PETA, never tires of heralding, an inexpensive two-hundred-fifty milliliter bottle of sodium pentobarbital (8.45 ounces) is more than sufficient in order to do away with eighty-three cats in short order. (See the Wheeling News-Register, December 16, 2010, "PETA Peeved at Hancock County's Feral Cat Problem.")
To PennVet's credit, veterinarian Michael Moyer has spoken out forcefully against rounding up and exterminating them in droves at shelters. "Cats can live a pretty respectable cat life (outdoors)," he told The Inquirer on March 11, 2011. (See "Shelter Shock.") "We tend to think their lives must be nasty, brutish, and short (a paraphrase of Thomas Hobbes in the Leviathan), but they live about as long on average as house cats."
In furtherance of that worthy objective, students at PennVet allegedly sterilized three-thousand-seven-hundred cats during 2011. The Inquirer, in its typical fashion, neglects to disclose how many of them were homeless.
The newspaper likewise fails to mention who footed the bill for those operations and, given its infamous niggardliness, it is extremely doubtful that PennVet performed them pro bono. That burden accordingly most likely fell upon the shoulders of already cash-strapped local animal protection groups.
Financial considerations aside, both sterilization mills as well as regular veterinarians have a long history of mishandling these normally routine surgeries. (See Cat Defender posts of February 26, 2008 and July 2, 2010 entitled, respectively, "The Dark Side of Spay and Neuter: Veterinarian Botched Surgeries and Back Alley Castrations Claim the Lives of Numerous Cats" and "Lexi Was By No Means the First Cat to Be Lost by Woosehill Vets Any More Than Angel Was Their First Victim of a Botched Sterilization.")
|The Ill-Fated Chattanooga Kitten|
This deplorable situation is compounded by the complicity of feckless veterinary oversight bodies who do almost nothing in order to discipline incompetent practitioners. (See Cat Defender posts of June 17, 2010 and January 19, 2012 entitled, respectively, "Veterinarian Gets Away with Almost Killing Felix but Is Nailed by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons for Not Paying Her Dues" and "Veterinary Watchdog Group Not Only Allows an Incompetent Substitute Practitioner to Get Away with Killing Junior but Scolds His Owner for Complaining.")
An equally important issue concerns Penn's treatment of its own homeless cats. Since students all over the world are notorious for abandoning and neglecting domesticated ones and given that footloose cats are attracted to the deceptive serenity and open spaces afforded by college campuses, Penn most assuredly must have its share of them. Whereas Stanford, Texas A&M, and other schools have inaugurated wildly successful TNR programs, that does not appear to be the case with Penn.
If so, that would be in keeping with the draconian policies in situ at colleges all across Pennsylvania who, generally speaking, are not known for their humane treatment of the species. (See Cat Defender posts of February 12, 2007 and June 9, 2008 entitled, respectively, "God-Fearing Baptists at Eastern University Kill Off Their Feral Cats on the Sly While Students Are Away on Christmas Break" and "Pennsylvania College Greedily Snatches Up Alumnus' Multimillion Dollar Bequest but Turns Away His Cat, Princess.")
Much the same thing can be said for schools all around the world who defame, neglect, and kill cats en masse. (See Cat Defender posts of September 11, 2006, July 31, 2008, and November 21, 2012 entitled, respectively, "Selfish and Brutal Eggheads at Central Michigan University Target Colony of Feral Cats for Defamation and Eradication," "Cal State Long Beach Is Using the Presence of Coyotes as a Pretext in Order to Get Rid of Its Feral Cats," and "Officials at Plymouth College of Art Should Be Charged with Gross Negligence and Animal Cruelty in the Tragic Death of the School's Longtime Resident Feline, PCAT," plus The Republic of Phoenix, February 7, 2014, "Phoenix College Ending Feral Cat Program, to Remove Animals.")
Since the practitioners at PennVet do not give so much as a second thought to killing off the treatable cats of the impecunious, it is not surprising that they and other scientists on campus have a long and sordid history of torturing them and other animals to death during the course of their utterly worthless and categorically immoral experiments. That makes them every bit as morally numb as Doctor Moreau.
"To this day I have never troubled about the ethics of the matter," he candidly declared to Edward Prendick in H .G. Wells' 1896 novel, The Island of Doctor Moreau. "The study of nature makes a man at least as remorseless as nature."
The exact number of animals nakedly abused and killed at Penn each year is unknown because, first of all, rats, mice, birds, amphibians, and other unspecified species are totally excluded from the purview of the phony-baloney and utterly laughable Animal Welfare Act (AWA) of 1966.
Secondly, the AWA exists only to ensure that animals used in biomedical research are fed, watered, and housed in cages that are large enough for them to stretch their legs. So long as vivisectors satisfy those minimalist requirements they are free to torture and kill them until the cows come home.
Despite those impediments erected in order to stifle the free flow of information, it has been reported that during 2012 vivisectors at PennVet experimented on nearly one-thousand dogs and puppies plus two-thousand-nine-hundred-ninety-four pigs and piglets. The dogs most assuredly met their Waterloos at Ryan whereas the pigs likely were done in at its sister facility, the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals at PennVet's New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, sixty kilometers removed from Center City in Chester County.
The number of pigs, cows, horses, and other large animals that are genetically manipulated, hideously tortured, and then killed in the name of making a buck at this suburban institute of horrors surely must be astronomical. All that the New Bolton Center admits on its web site, however, is that it annually treats six-thousand animals at Widener.
In much the same fashion as Paladin of the old radio and television show, Have Gun Will Travel, sold his services to the highest bidder, the veterinarians also make house calls on farms, ranches, and race tracks where they attend to another nineteen-thousand animals. The wholesale pimping and whoring that these highfalutin, dressed-up mercenaries do for meat and milk producers as well as for those who horrifically abuse racehorses surely must keep them in clover high enough to block out even the rays of the sun. Not surprisingly, semper graculus assidet graculo.
|"Old Moneybags" Gutmann|
The millions that they make off of pigs alone lends an entirely new connotation to the old adage of living high on the hog. Given the magnitude of their crimes, however, it perhaps would be more accurate to characterize their behavior as a case of living low-down and dirty on the hog.
Just about all of the animals mercilessly exploited at both Ryan and New Bolton doubtlessly are unceremoniously killed off once their diabolical tormentors have finished with them. It is not known how many cats the veterinarians kill annually but the number likely is in the hundreds if not indeed thousands.
Despite the license to kill so generously granted them by the United States Congress under the AWA, vivisectors at PennVet have proven themselves time and time again to be totally unwilling to even comply with the minimalist provisions of the act itself. For example, an inspection report released by the USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on May 13, 2013 cited PennVet for killing a piglet by failing to properly anesthetize it as well as for having a gaping hole in a facility used to house its research subjects.
Another report issued by APHIS on July 20, 2011 cited PennVet for cleaning, sanitation, housekeeping, pest control, watering, and general facilities management violations. In particular, the veterinary school was written up for failing to provide proper enclosures for cats, dogs, and gerbils that resulted in the deaths of one puppy and three gerbils.
"We believe that when you see an institution like this where clearly there's unqualified personnel, animals are dying as a result of it, and other animals are clearly suffering as a result of what happened, that the university should be significantly penalized," Michael Budkie of Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) told NBC-10 of Philadelphia on July 29, 2013. (See "Animal Advocacy Group Wants UPenn's Vet School Fined.") "That's why we've contacted the USDA and asked them to issue the largest possible fine, $10,000 per violation."
APHIS, however, is not about to discipline PennVet or any other biomedical laboratory in the United States. Instead, it would much prefer to devote its time, money, and energy to going after the polydactyls that reside at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West. (See Cat Defender post of January 24, 2013 entitled "The Feds Now Have Cats and Their Owners Exactly Where They Want Them Thanks to an Outrageous Ruling Targeting the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West.")
As for PennVet, its response to the charges levied against it by APHIS has been, typically, both dishonest and moronic. "The university is committed to maintaining the highest standard of humane care for animals used in biomedical research, which is aimed at finding treatments and cures for some of the most vexing diseases of our time, in both humans and animals," its unidentified mouthpiece pontificated to NBC-10. "The university is continually working to improve its programs for animals care and welfare -- the USDA inspections and reports are part of the regular process and we look to them for guidance."
First of all, for PennVet to be looking to APHIS for pointers on how to humanely care for animals can only be characterized as a classic case of the blind leading the blind. Secondly, the proof is always in the pudding and if PennVet were in any way committed to the humane care of animals it immediately would stop nakedly abusing them as guinea pigs.
The truth of the matter, however, is that it is only committed to torturing and killing them. Moreover, that is so much the case that it steadfastly refuses to even comply with the minimalist housekeeping provisions of the AWA.
Thirdly, the practice of both veterinary and conventional medicine is a colossal racket in that effective treatment, in most cases, is only available to those animals and individuals with large bags of money. In a strict moral sense, however, it would not make any difference whatsoever even if vivisectors somehow could be prevailed upon to share their expertise in an equitable manner with the impecunious.
Mark Twain clearly understood that moral dilemma and in a letter addressed to the London Anti-Vivisection Society on May 26, 1899 he wrote in part:
"I believe I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't. To know that the results are profitable to the race would not remove my hostility to it. The pains which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity without looking further."
The put the entire matter in a nutshell, vivisection will only be morally permissible when animals knowingly give their consent to be tortured to death and that is never going to happen. Instead, vivisectors at PennVet and elsewhere should practice their wiles on themselves and their colleagues. Such a revolutionary change in their modus operandi undoubtedly would prove to be not only great fun but equally profitable as well.
Such an ingrained contempt for the sanctity of animal life as demonstrated writ large by PennVet is usually, but not always, accompanied by a corresponding disdain for human rights as well. For example, like all colleges Penn employs a large number of part-time teachers who work for a small fraction of what tenured faculty members receive as well as being deprived of both benefits and job security.
The university also nakedly exploits its students as a renewable source of cheap labor all the while lavishing more than $2 million a year plus a package of perks and benefits that any Wall Street crook would dearly covet on its president, Amy Gutmann. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 16, 2013, "Higher Earning.")
The school itself has an endowment of close to $8 billion and an annual operating budget of more than $6 billion. C-est-à-dire, this sleazy, despicable capitalist institution has money to burn but yet it is too cheap to part with so much as a solitary sou in order to save the life of a sick cat.
By contrast, in tiny Valdez, Alaska, Dr. Kelly Hawkins operates his surgery on a shoestring but in spite of all the financial constraints he has seldom denied life-saving veterinary intervention to poor cats and other animals. The difference between him and the practitioners at PennVet is that he not only has an abiding respect for animal life but actually cares about animals and people as well.
No one will ever be able to say the same thing about the popinjays at PennVet. (See Cat Defender post of February 10, 2014 entitled "Indefatigable Young Alaskan Woman Overcomes a Lack of Money, Jailing by the Police, and a Series of Avalanches in Order to Save Ninja's Life.")
In spite of its outrageous hypocrisies and the wholesale crimes that it commits on a daily basis against the animals the school still has the nerve to proclaim to the world in its motto that "leges sine moribus vanae." Such an outlandish display of runaway hubris therefore can only be regarded as an inside joke that doubtlessly furnishes its professors and administrators with endless hours of unbridled mirth.
A far more fitting sobriquet could be easily fashioned for the university out of the dressing-down that Carl Sandburg once delivered to organized Christianity. In his poem, "To Billy Sunday," he wrote in part:
"I won't take my religion from a man who never works except with his mouth and never cherishes a memory except the face of the woman on the American silver dollar."
As applied to Penn, it would read: "We love only money and are only good for running off at the mouth." If the truth in advertising statues ever were properly enforced they would demand no less of the school.
No one should hold either his or her breath, however, waiting for Penn to either locate its moral compass, learn to tell the truth, or to become so much as an halfway honest school. On the contrary, there hardly exists enough money in this world in order to satisfy its insatiable greed. Avarus animus nullo satiatur lucro.
For instance, on February 27th the school announced plans to transform a twenty-three acre parcel of land in the Grays Ferry section of town that once housed a DuPont paint factory into what it calls a "research and innovation campus for budding entrepreneurs." (See Philadelphia Metro, February 28, 2013, "UPenn Plans Campus Expansion.")
That certainly seems à propos enough in that Penn and DuPont go together in much the same fashion as Mussolini and Hitler. They accordingly should be exceedingly happy together preening and strutting, egos abutting, gibbering up a storm, and taking turns at the controls of the hay baler that they use in order to gather up their loot. It is, after all, too arduous of a job for either any mere mortal or computer ever built by IBM to count.
Whenever they tire of those pursuits there is always Mother Earth for them to pollute and millions of defenseless cats and other animals to hideously abuse and kill. The latter is not only PennVet's present-day forté but it is destined to become its most enduring legacy.
Photos: University of Pennsylvania (logos, Drobatz, and Gutmann), Melissa Dribben of The Inquirer (Hattie and McDevitt), and WTVC-TV of Chattanooga (kitten).