This morning, dozens of sign-carrying, black-clad PETA supporters headed to the Special Operations Medical Association’s Scientific Assembly (SOMSA) in Charlotte, North Carolina. SOMSA’s theme, this year, is Back to the Future: Gaining New Ground and Preserving Lessons Learned, and protesters gathered to urge the military to gain ground by ending the maiming and killing of animals in training drills and adopting cutting-edge, human-patient simulation technology instead.
Service members are currently forced to cut off live goats’ legs with tree trimmers and shoot, stab, burn, and cut apart live pigs in medical trauma training exercises. A report published earlier this month by the U.S. Defense Health Agency called this use of animals “outdated and cost-prohibitive.”
“Shooting and hacking apart animals does nothing but send medical personnel into war zones inadequately prepared to treat human patients,” says PETA veterinarian and Air Force veteran Dr. Ingrid Taylor. “PETA is calling on military special operations officials to replace these archaic drills on animals with the best training possible—and that’s human-patient simulators.”
A number of bases currently prepare personnel without harming animals, and last month, the Coast Guard suspended its use of animals in these training drills.