ST. JOSEPH — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has filed a federal complaint against a St. Joseph hospital over its use of live cats in medical training.
PETA sent a letter Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Agriculture stating that Heartland Regional Medical Center is violating the Animal Welfare Act.
The hospital uses cats to teach health care workers how to intubate infants. Intubation involves placing a tube down a patient's throat to facilitate breathing.
PETA said using live animals is unnecessary as there are lifelike mannequins available.
Sharon Smith, who oversees the training, said the cats' airways are more accurate for training purposes. She also said the USDA inspects the program every year, and a veterinarian cares for the animals.