Military Avoids Timeline to Modernize Combat Trauma Training
U.S. military troops deserve the best and most effective care and training available, but a new Department of Defense report to Congress sets no timetable to replace the outdated use of live animals in combat trauma training with modern, human-based simulators.
“Military training suffers from the Department of Defense’s continued use of goats and pigs,” says John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C. “Burning and inflicting gunshot wounds and traumatic amputations to animals does not best prepare trainees for treating severe injuries in battle.”
Congress approved language in the National Defense Authorization Act last year that called for the report. The report language was inspired by the Battlefield Excellence through Superior Training (BEST) Practices Act, a bipartisan bill that had 50 co-sponsors and was promoted widely by the Physicians Committee. The BEST Practices Act would have required the Department of Defense to phase out the use of live animals for training within five years.
In these courses, pigs and goats are anesthetized and then inflicted with wounds intended to simulate battlefield injuries. At the end of each course, the animals are killed. More than 7,500 pigs and goats are killed every year in these courses, despite the availability of superior, human-based technology, such as the Cut Suit by Strategic Operations Inc., which features lifelike skin, anatomically correct organs, breakable bones, and realistic blood flow.
To ask Congress to urge the Department of Defense to stop killing animals, visit BetterMilitaryMedicine.org.