Air Force, Army Continue Animal Use in Combat Trauma Training
The Physicians Committee recently filed a complaint urging Hurlburt Field Air Force Base to replace the use of live animals with human-based simulators. In March, retired Air Force medic Ben Rogers sent a letter asking Air Force Special Operations Command to act on the Physicians Committee's complaint.
This development continues the momentum started when Congress took its most substantial action on the issue to date. In December, Congress passed the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which called on the Department of Defense (DOD) to issue a report by March 1, 2013, that includes a strategy for transitioning to the use of human-based methods in combat trauma training courses. This was the first time Congress has held the DOD accountable for using live animals in combat trauma training. But the DOD missed the March 1 deadline and still has not provided Congress with the report.
In the meantime, the Army’s Medical Command has made plans to continue the use of live goats in combat trauma training for the next five years, despite the fact that the Cut Suit—an interactive suit worn by an actor who mimics an injured soldier—and other simulators are specifically designed for combat trauma training courses. In response, the Physicians Committee and neurosurgeon and retired Army lieutenant colonel William Morris, M.D., wrote to the Army Surgeon General. Thousands of Physicians Committee members also sent e-mails to the DOD and Army.
To ask the Army and Air Force to end live animal use for combat trauma training, visit PCRM.org/Action.