Military training exercises
Leaked video: live goats' legs cut off with tree trimmers
April 18, 2012
Each year, more than 10,000 live animals are shot, stabbed, mutilated, and killed in horrific military training exercises that are supposed to simulate injuries on the battlefield. But the training exercises that are taking place in these highly secret courses bear no resemblance to real battlefield conditions—and they don't help soldiers save the lives of their injured comrades.
In disturbing, never-before-seen undercover video footage leaked to PETA showing a Coast Guard training course in Virginia Beach, Virginia, instructors with a company called Tier 1 Group, which was hired by the military, are seenbreaking and cutting off the limbs of live goats with tree trimmers, stabbing the animals, and pulling out their internal organs. Goats moan and kick during the mutilations—signs that they had not received adequate anesthesia.
During this cruel exercise, one Tier 1 Group instructor is heard cheerfully whistling on the video as he cuts off goats' legs and a Coast Guard participant callously jokes about writing songs about mutilating the animals.
Later in the day, according to the distraught whistleblower who came to PETA,goats were shot in the face with pistols and hacked apart with an ax while still alive.
Cruel exercises like these continue regularly across the U.S. even though most civilian facilities and many military facilities have already replaced animal laboratories with superior lifelike simulators that breathe, bleed, and even "die."
The Army's own Rascon School of Combat Medicine at Fort Campbell does not use animals in its training program and has even publicly stated that "[t]raining on [simulators] is more realistic to providing care for a person than training on animals." The Air Force's Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills and the Navy Trauma Training Center also do not use animals to train soldiers.
Department of Defense regulations actually require that alternatives to animals be used when available, but this policy is not being enforced.
Unlike mutilating and killing animals, training on simulators allows medics and soldiers to practice on accurate anatomical models and repeat vital procedures until all trainees are confident and proficient. Studies show that medical care providers who learn trauma treatment using simulators are better prepared to treat injured patients than those who are trained using animals. A leading surgeon with the U.S. Army even candidly admitted in an internal e-mail obtained by PETA that "there still is no evidence that [training on animals] saves lives."
For all these reasons, the Battlefield Excellence through Superior Training (BEST) Practices Act (H.R. 1417), which would phase out the U.S. military's use of live animals in trauma training courses in favor of modern non-animal methods, has been introduced in Congress.
Please help improve military training and spare the thousands of animals who are tormented each year in these cruel exercises by using the form below to send polite e-mails to U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security officials urging them to take immediate action to comply with federal regulations and completely replace the use of animals in military trauma training with superior non-animal training methods.
Please SIGN the petition at the link from PETA
Military is required to justify using animals in medic training after pressure from activists
February 25, 2013 - via Washington Post
The war between animal activists and the Pentagon has raged for decades. You could say there’s been a fair amount of collateral damage: thousands of goats and pigs have been mutilated, though the military argues the animals have not died in vain.
So it’s no surprise the animal rights camp is salivating over the blow it’s about to inflict on the enemy. This week, by order of Congress, the Pentagon must present lawmakers with a written plan to phase out “live tissue training,” military speak for slaying animals to teach combat medics how to treat severed limbs and gunshot wounds.
The demand, tucked into the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, marks the first time Congress has ordered the Pentagon to provide a detailed plan to start relying less on animals and more on simulators. The military must also specify whether removing animals from training sessions could lead to a “reduction in the competency of combat medical personnel,” according to the bill.
“Congress now acknowledges that it is wrong to harm animals for crude medical training exercises if modern and superior alternatives are available,” said Justin Goodman, the director of laboratory investigations for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, which has been fighting the use of animals in combat medic training since the early 1980s. “If the military is too entrenched to make changes on their own, Congress is going to bring pressure to bear and force that change.”
The military’s use of animals for medical training dates back to the Vietnam war, but it drew relatively little scrutiny until the summer of 1983, when activists caught wind of a training exercise planned at a facility in Bethesda. The plan to shoot dozens of anesthetized dogs strung on nylon mesh slings in an indoor, sound-proof firing range enraged animal activists and some lawmakers.
Dog lovers protested in front of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, one with a leashed dog wearing a shirt with a bull’s eye. They took their rage to the home of then Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, demanding to know how he could stand for the training as the owner of an adorable collie named Kilty.
Weinberger acted swiftly, issuing a one-sentence statement saying he had “directed that no dogs be shot for medical experimentation or training.” But to the consternation of animal activists, Weinberger did nothing to spare goats.
The military was not alone in using animals to prepare medics for trauma. Thomas Poulton, a Texas anesthesiologist who served in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps , said many civilian trauma training courses used dogs when he was a young physician three decades ago. He found wounding animals during courses jarring, but not particularly formative.
“In terms of actually learning skills, eye-hand coordination or learning much intellectually, it didn’t really add anything I wasn’t already learning,” said Poulton.
In recent years, civilian trauma courses have largely abandoned the use of animals, chiefly because human simulators have come a long way, spurting blood-like liquid and reacting much like the human body when it’s wounded. Poulton says civilian schools have ditched live-tissue training in part due to ethical concerns.