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  1. News Release

  2. Jun 1, 2023

Armed With Billboards, Military Doctors Urge BAMC to Replace Animals in Deadly Training Exercises

SAN ANTONIO, Texas—This Memorial Day, a group of former military doctors and nurses are urging Brooke Army Medical Center to drop the use of animals in an emergency skills course. In a letter to base leaders, the 10 veterans urged the change for “the lives and safety of all the soldiers who may one day require care from the physicians currently training at BAMC.” Accompanying the letter are billboards that were purchased by the nonprofit medical ethics group the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The outdoor ads, two near BAMC and one in downtown San Antonio, declare: “Pigs Make Lousy Soldiers: Stop Using Animals to Train Army Doctors.”

Dr. Robert DeMuth was the lead signatory on the letter, which was sent to BAMC commanding general, Brig. Gen.Deydre S. Teyhen, and the commander of the 59th Medical Wing of the U.S. Air Force, Brig. Gen. Jeannine M. Ryder, MS. In the letter, Dr. DeMuth, who trained medics at Fort Cavazos with the Army’s 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment without using animals and was deployed twice to Iraq, noted that scientific studies funded by the U.S. military support the replacement of animals in medical training.   

At BAMC, trainees cut into pigs’ chests to insert drainage tubes, insert a needle to remove fluid surrounding the heart, spread the ribs to perform various procedures on the heart, and cut the skin and ligament around the animals’ eyes—among many other procedures. During the later stage of the exercise, the animals are killed, and additional procedures are then performed on their bodies.

BAMC is one of only seven emergency medicine programs in the U.S. and Canada using live animals, out of 285 surveyed programs. Naval Medical Center San Diego stopped using live animals nearly a decade ago, in 2014, and the programs at Wright State University (affiliated with Wright Patterson Air Force Base) and the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University (affiliated with the U.S. Army) use only nonanimal methods.

“We don’t send soldiers into battle with muskets,” says Dr. DeMuth. “We shouldn’t be preparing physicians to save those soldiers’ lives using 19th century methods.”

For an interview with Dr. DeMuth, a copy of the letter, or the billboard artwork or locations, please contact Reina Pohl at 202-527-7326 or rpohl [at] (rpohl[at]pcrm[dot]org).

Media Contact

Reina Pohl, MPH



Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.

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