Physicians Committee Petitions Air Force to End Animal Use
The Physicians Committee recently petitioned the U.S. Air Force to halt its plans to use and kill live animals in combat trauma training courses at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Tacoma, Wash., and transition to readily available nonanimal training methods.
According to a military document used to solicit the contractor that conducted the trainings over the last month, live animals were likely subjected to:
- Limb amputation
- Limb fracture
- Wounds resulting in severe bleeding
- Needles and tubes inserted into the chest cavity
Pigs or goats are used in these military training courses. But since all of these procedures can be taught using realistic human-based medical simulation methods, the recent trainings were in violation of the Department of Defense’s Use of Animals in DoD Programs.
The DoD mandates that “methods other than animal use and alternatives to animal use (i.e., methods to refine, reduce, or replace the use of animals) shall be considered and used whenever possible to attain the objectives of RDT&E or training if such alternative methods produce scientifically or educationally valid or equivalent results.”
The Cut Suit from San Diego-based Strategic Operations Inc. was specifically designed for combat trauma training courses and replicates the experience of performing emergency medical procedures on a living trauma patient. Trainees can apply tourniquets, control severe bleeding, and manage collapsed lungs. This device can also teach arterial hemorrhage control of organs and extremities, surgical incisions to the thoracic and abdominal cavities, and suturing or stapling of organs and skin.
To ask Congress to urge the Department of Defense to stop killing animals, visit BetterMilitaryMedicine.org.