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Update (November 16, 2023): Progress! After hearing from PETA, the U.S. Army ended its cruel brain-damaging weapon-wounding experiment on ferrets more than six months ahead of schedule. Ferrets will no longer be bombarded with radio waves in attempts to study Havana syndrome in humans. The cruel test had been conducted at Wayne State University in Michigan and bankrolled with $750,000 in taxpayer dollars. Take action below to let the Army know that we won’t retreat until all animals are shielded from its sights.
In a shocking twist, the U.S. Army is now allowing dogs, cats, monkeys, and marine animals to be inflicted with wounds from weapons in gruesome and pointless experiments that the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) had banned back when Ronald Reagan was president. We need your help to call for a cease-fire and to pressure top military brass to once again ban this abhorrent practice.
In 1983, PETA got a U.S. Department of Defense underground “wound lab” shut down and achieved a permanent ban on shooting dogs and cats in military wound laboratories. That ban now needs to be reinstated.
In 1983, PETA successfully campaigned to shut down a DOD “wound lab” where dogs, goats, and other animals were being shot with high-powered weapons, supposedly to study the effects of human wounds and healing. Then Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger issued the first-ever permanent ban on shooting dogs and cats in wound labs.
The order was bolstered in 2005 when the U.S. Army issued Regulation 40-33, which banned the use of dogs, cats, marine animals, and nonhuman primates in tests “conducted for the development of biological, chemical or nuclear weapons.”
That all changed in 2020, when the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC) issued Policy 84, which now allows “[t]he purchase or use of dogs, cats, nonhuman primates, or marine mammals to inflict wounds upon using a weapon for the purpose of conducting medical research, development, testing, or evaluation.”
Forward March. Retreat.
In March 2022, PETA requested all documentation of such weapon-wounding tests on animals. The Army initially said the service kept at least 2,000 such records.
It then retreated, saying there was only one record.
Then the Army claimed that the one record was actually “classified … in the interest of national defense and foreign policy.”
In September 2022, PETA filed an appeal with the Army, seeking the release of a redacted version of the requested information. Taxpayers deserve to know what the Army is hiding by refusing to release details about its shocking weapon-wounding experiments on animals. We also sent a letter to Secretary of the U.S. Army Christine Wormuth urging her to reinstate the previous ban on such tests.
The Internal Politics of War
Wounding animals and studying their injuries in hopes of helping humans is pointless, because numerous anatomical and physiological differences between species render moot this line of inquiry.
The U.S. Air Force apparently took issue with the Army’s unsound weapon-wounding experiments, and in September 2022, the Air Force’s 59th Medical Wing adopted a policy stating that its own experimentation program “does not conduct Research & Development or training protocols involving non-human primates, dogs, cats, or marine mammals”—which is the opposite of the USAMRDC’s policy that allows weapon-wounding tests on these animals.
Distortions and Secrecy
In October 2022, the USAMRDC issued a statement saying that it has no “ongoing” animal-wounding programs and “do[es] not have any studies related to wounding cats or dogs.” However, this is misleading at best. Such weapon-wounding testing using dogs, cats, monkeys, or marine animals has recently occurred, as the USAMRDC itself confirmed to PETA the existence of at least one “classified” protocol for this type of experimentation.
Weapon-wounding tests on dogs, cats, monkeys, and marine animals are a bloody stain on the uniform worn by those who bravely serve. They do nothing to advance human health, and the U.S. Army should rescind its order allowing such abhorrent tests immediately.
PETA is pressing the Army to respond to our appeal for public disclosure of at least one “classified” protocol for weapon-wounding testing on animals, and we are disturbed by a reported military plan to expose monkeys to pulsed microwave radiation in a misguided attempt to determine human brain effects associated with Havana syndrome. The causal link between directed energy weapons and Havana syndrome has been debunked by the intelligence community, as has the purported justification for the Army’s current $750,000 taxpayer-funded brain injury experiment that bombards 48 ferrets with radio waves in an attempt to study this illness. The Army should stop letting paranoia and fear influence its research and swiftly ban all weapon-wounding tests on animals.
—Shalin G. Gala, Vice President, International Laboratory Methods, PETA
The bottom line is that the Army’s current policy reverses precedent by explicitly allowing the use of weapons to wound these animals in gruesome tests—and this abhorrent absurdity needs to be permanently banned.
Non-Animal Alternatives Are Widely Available
Science is a marvel. Various models to study the healing of wounds, from abrasive injuries and blisters to thermal trauma, have been developed using healthy human volunteers in minimally invasive studies, and no one had to maim an animal to do it.
It’s also possible to study wound healing directly in humans using new-generation molecular tools, requiring only small amounts of human skin tissue.
Researchers at Harvard University and Boston University also recently developed a cutting-edge in vitro model to study wound healing. Again, no animals suffered and the results are directly applicable to humans.
What You Can Do
Please TAKE ACTION today by urging the DOD and Army to once again ban the use of animals for weapon-wounding experiments immediately.