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Update May 5, 2022: In a damning new report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has slammed the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) mutilation of animals in cruel and archaic trauma training drills—a practice that involves shooting, stabbing, and dismembering thousands of live animals each year.
In the just-released report, the GAO states, “[T]he use of animals in medical education has faced long-standing scrutiny due to a continuing focus on animal welfare and continued improvement in other training methods.” The agency continues, “DOD has not established measurable objectives and performance measures to track progress in reducing animal use for combat trauma training,” and as such it “cannot fully demonstrate the extent to which DOD has made progress in minimizing animal use.”
In response to the GAO report, PETA has issued the following statement:
PETA salutes the scathing new report just released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) that slams the U.S. Department of Defense’s use and mutilation of animals in trauma training drills, a practice that PETA first exposed and campaigned against and that the military’s own Defense Health Agency has described as “outdated and cost-prohibitive” and “not anatomically accurate.” The GAO’s report criticizes the military for, in part, failing to “track progress in reducing animal use for combat trauma training.” The U.S. Coast Guard previously met directly with PETA and became the first branch of the armed forces to end the use of animals for what it calls this “abhorrent” trauma training, and former President Donald Trump signed a bipartisan law that included a PETA-backed provision that, for the first time, made human-simulation technology the new gold standard of trauma training. Based on these landmark precedents in pushing back against the military’s war on animals, PETA strongly urges the top brass at the Pentagon—as well as other agencies like the U.S. Department of Justice—to stop dragging their feet and permanently end the use of animals in trauma training drills, which more than 70% of NATO allies have already done.
Add your voice to ours by taking action below.
The Department of Defense continues to shoot, stab, dismember, burn, and kill thousands of animals each year during combat-medic training.
PETA has led the effort to end this cruel, archaic practice by—among many other actions—releasing shocking, never-before-seen eyewitness video footage showing that training instructors hired by the military cut off the limbs of live goats with tree trimmers and shot and stabbed live pigs and pulled out their internal organs. Some under-anesthetized animals moaned in agony.
After meeting with PETA, the U.S. Coast Guard became the first branch of the armed forces to end the use of animals for this self-proclaimed "abhorrent" training in favor of advanced human-simulation technology. Also, a bipartisan law included a PETA-backed provision that—for the first time—made human-simulation technology the new gold standard of trauma training, meaning that the U.S. military must use it before considering harming any animals in trauma drills. While the number of animals used in this training has decreased, the practice persists.
Military Medical Experts Agree
Animals have different anatomy and physiology from that of humans, so using a pig or a goat in these cruel, expensive, and ineffective trauma training drills doesn't accurately teach human medicine. Sophisticated human-patient simulators, on the other hand, can accurately mimic severe bleeding, breathing difficulties, responses to medications, and even death in humans.
U.S. Army Brigadier General, physician, and former member of Congress Dr. Joe Heck concurs with PETA that trauma training using live animals—known as "live tissue training"—provides inferior results:
As a … physician in the U.S. Army Reserve who commanded the emergency room of a Combat Support Hospital in Iraq, I support the elimination of Live Tissue Training (LTT). . . .
[T]he anatomy of goats and pigs does not realistically replicate that of a human, gives combat medics a false confidence in their skills, and causes them to develop inaccurate muscle memory in the performance of critical, life-saving skills.
Please send a polite e-mail urging the Department of Defense to end the use of animals in all military trauma training and to use superior human-simulation technology instead.
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