Unfriendly Fire: End the Military’s Use of Animals in Trauma Training
In military trauma training courses, soldiers shoot pigs in the face, repeatedly expose monkeys to a neurotoxin, and amputate goats’ legs with gardening tools—even though nonanimal methods are widely available and can handle every aspect of military medical training. But PCRM is working to end the use of animals in these courses, which violate the Department of Defense’s own animal welfare regulation.
That DoD regulation states, “Alternative methods to the use of animals must be considered and used if such alternatives produce scientifically valid or equivalent results to attain the research, education, training, and testing objectives.” But the U.S. military continues to use live animals in medical training even though superior nonanimal methods are widely available.
It is time for the military to modernize its medical teaching methods and forgo animal use in all training of infantry, medics, and physicians. The trend in advanced medical training is away from animal use—today, 95 percent of medical schools no longer use animals to teach medical students. Nonanimal methods range from high-tech simulators to commonsense approaches, like the use of military and civilian trauma centers.
In working to end animal use in these courses, PCRM is reaching out to Congress, including Rep. Steve Rothman and Sen. Robert Byrd, who have contacted DoD about this important issue. But we need your help too.
Call or e-mail your representative today and urge them to ask the Army secretary and the Army surgeon general to adopt better methods in medical training. Soldiers would benefit from better training, and countless animals’ lives would be spared.
Read more about the military’s war on animals.
PCRM Online, January 2009