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Coast Guard Cuts Animal Use in Medical Training By Half After PETA Exposé

Group Praises Agency's Progress, Urges Complete Replacement of Animal Use With Simulation Technology

For Immediate Release:
February 12, 2014

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – Two years after PETA released disturbing undercover video footage showing cruel treatment of animals during a U.S. Coast Guard medical training course, the agency announced that it will reduce its use of live animals by more than half.

The policy change requires more personnel to be trained exclusively with simulators and other non-animal methods. The Coast Guard confirmed during a recent meeting with PETA that the shift comes after an official review by the agency, which was prompted by the PETA exposé.

Never-before-seen video released by PETA in 2012 and narrated by Army combat veteran Oliver Stone showed that instructors crudely cut off semiconscious goats’ limbs with tree trimmers, stabbed the animals, and pulled out their internal organs as they moaned loudly and kicked their legs. PETA’s investigation prompted action by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and members of Congress.

“The Coast Guard has taken a laudable first step by slashing in half the number of live animals who will be shot, stabbed, and mutilated in its training drills,” says PETA Director of Laboratory Investigations Justin Goodman. “We continue to urge the Coast Guard to join the more than 80 percent of our NATO allies that have completely replaced their use of animals in medical training with superior simulation technology.”

In 2012, PETA and decorated military physicians published a study showing that 22 of 28 NATO nations do not use any animals for military medical training. In November 2013, after two years of discussions with PETA, Poland became the 23rd NATO nation to replace its use of animals with modern medical simulators.

The Coast Guard’s announcement follows a July 2013 policy instituted by the U.S. Army that prohibits many personnel from participating in training involving live animals and requires that they be taught exclusively using simulation and other non-animal methods.

To learn more, visit PETA.org and click here.