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Missouri hospital abandons use of cats after protest

By jim Published: September 22, 2009

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — A northwest Missouri hospital is switching to high-tech mannequins for medical training classes after an animal rights group protested its use of live cats.

A spokeswoman for Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph said Monday the hospital will hold its first class using the $46,000 mannequins on Sept. 30. The classes teach health care workers how to place a tube down an infant's throat to help the baby breathe.

The hospital had previously used cats, whose throats are similar to that of a human infant.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in June filed a protest with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It said using live animals was unnecessary.

Hospital spokeswoman Marcy George said the change had more to do with advances in technology than with PETA's protest.

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